For exotic pets and chinchilla owners, there's nothing worse than being saddled with large vet bills at the end of the appointment, whether it's for an annual health check-up or an emergency. As a result, many chinchilla owners wonder if they will be able to get insurance to cover these expenses and if so, what kind.
Fortunately for you, Quality Cage Crafters has compiled everything you need to know about chinchilla or other exotic pets insurance and provided a comparison of the different types of policies, allowing you to figure out which one is right for your peace of mind and your furry friend.
Is There Pet Insurance For Uncommon Pets?
In most cases, when people are researching or considering pet insurance, they immediately think of and find coverage for cats and dogs. This brings up the question if chinchilla and other exotic pets such as guinea pigs, and sugar gliders insurance even exists.
Chinchillas need specialized medical care along with specialized insurance that will cater to their needs in terms of health care, although there isn't a specific chinchilla coverage package. A chinchilla pet insurance policy would be considered exotic pets insurance.
What Do we Need to Know about Exotic Pet Insurance?
An exotic pet insurance plan covers any “non-traditional” small pets, such as ferrets, chinchillas, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, sugar gliders and more animals like reptiles and birds.
It is similar to the case with most pet insurance policies, exotic pet insurance reimburses your bill after the appointment has been completed and you have paid for it. You will need to file a claim with your insurance provider in order to claim the reimbursement.
In the case of exotic pet insurance, premiums can vary from as low as $10 per month, up to a premium of $100 per month, depending on the insurer and benefits.
Although some owners may find the higher end of these premiums to be expensive, the coverage you can get is definitely worth it.
Do I and My Pet Chinchilla Need Exotic Pet Insurance?
While this question is largely up to you and your chinchilla's needs, it’s always good to have a backup plan for the worst-case scenario.
The most common reason for recommending pet insurance for chinchilla owners is that they want an additional layer of protection when it comes to paying for treatments for their furry friend.
There are a number of instances in which pet insurance can prove to be useful, such as if your chinchilla gets stuck and their leg is broken, forcing them to undergo amputation due to the injury. (In an unlikely incident such as this, you can be assured that your chinchilla will live a long and happy life if you provide it with the right care)
It is also recommended to have exotic pet insurance if your chinchilla has a pre-existing disability such as malocclusions, or previously amputated limbs, or is more prone to issues like bloating.
What Does Exotic Pet Insurance Cover?
A pet insurance policy that covers exotic pets can cover most injury and illness-related claims, such as common medical conditions for a chinchilla; broken limbs, and all other types of treatment these animals might need.
Sometimes, preventive care will be included as a separate package on top of your policy, meaning that you may still be required to pay for your annual checkups if you do not choose this added benefit.
What Exotic Pet Insurance Doesn't Cover?
As mentioned above, preventive care isn't always covered under health insurance plans unless there is an add-on to the policy.
It is also important to note that exotic pet insurance will not cover the cost of general care items such as food, cages, and cage supplies, boarding fees for long-term stays, and grooming care such as dust and Desenex powders.
What Is The Best Exotic Pet Insurance for Chinchillas?
The answer to this question is more a subjective one for owners since benefit levels and coverage can vary considerably from person to person. So we’re going to take a look at the biggest things to consider to figure out which insurance is the best for you and your peace of mind.
The first thing to consider is your location, as some plans are location centralized. Namely, Exotic Direct, which only covers exotic pet owners in the UK, or Nationwide which only covers US owners.
Other things to consider are if there are additional benefits from the insurance company such as an insurance company can offer additional protection such as liability protection in the case of injury or illness caused by your chinchilla.
Lastly, one of the main factors that determine which insurance plan to choose is whether it offers a large discount on the cost of the treatments without the commitment and expense of a down payment or premiums.
Common Exotic Pet Insurance Comparison
We’ve collected three of the most popular exotic pet insurance and insurance alternative programs to choose between and their benefits, pricing, and more. Additionally, we’ve created a reference chart you can refer back to when needed.
Nationwide Avian and Exotic Plan
In the United States, the Nationwide Avian and Exotic Plan is the main plan that is most readily available to chinchilla owners.
Starting at $9.50 a month, Nationwide covers a wide range of common health problems chinchillas typically have, such as overgrown teeth, and upper respiratory infections.
Despite the fact that Nationwide does not cover the full cost of treatments, you should be able to expect to pay much lower prices than if you were uninsured.
Nationwide gives the example that a vet visit to treat dehydration or constipation typically costs $48 for members instead of $483 for non-members.
If you live in the US, want an insurance plan over an alternative, and need a wide range of coverage for your chinchilla, then this is the plan that we recommend to you.
Exotic Direct UK
Exotic Direct UK is the biggest exotic pet insurance overseas. Coverage for your chinchilla is based on the plan you choose.
You can either be insured for all of your chinchillas under the essentials policy or per single pet under their premier exotic pet plan.
This plan covers your chinchilla's veterinarian fees for £2000 over the policy period. When getting a quote for a chinchilla, we found a quote of £15 a month on the essentials policy for a 10-month period.
We recommend this plan if you are based in the UK and want a low-cost monthly plan with good coverage for your chinchilla.
Pet Assure is the only insurance alternative on our list and it has some great benefits that may interest many owners.
Despite not being an insurance plan, Pet Assure has some benefits for owners of exotic pets like chinchillas. Specifically, the fact that your pet type does not affect the rate.
Pet Assure offers a 25% discount on any veterinary services that may be needed, and they encourage bundling this on any pre-existing pet insurance.
There are very few exclusions to what you can’t use Pet Assure for, however, the vet needs to be in the Pet Assure network to be used. Currently, Pet Assure is only offered through employers, so it’s worth checking in with your employer to see if Pet Assure is an option for you
It's recommended that you take advantage of Pet Assure if you are on a budget or if you want additional coverage on top of your insurance policy to ensure your chinchilla is fully covered.
Do You Have To Go To An In-Network Vet?
The majority of pet insurance policies are not based on in-network veterinarians; instead, most of them are based on claims made by the pet owner for animal treatment.
The one exception mentioned above is Pet Assure, which does require you to go with a vet under the Pet Assure plan, but they do allow you to invite your vet into their network.
The most important thing when it comes to finding a good chinchilla vet is taking a look at exotic vets near you and asking plenty of questions to make sure you’re getting the highest amount of care possible.
Preventive Care Tips To Keep Your Chinchilla Healthy
The ideal scenario is that you'll never have to use your chinchilla insurance, and there are many steps you can take to ensure that you don't have to make many visits to the vet.
While we have many articles on chinchilla care including the basics, cage cleaning, and a first aid kit to treat your chinchilla at home, we’ll cover the most important things for awareness and preventive care.
Heat stroke can be one of the most deadly conditions for a chinchilla, so it’s extremely important to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Easy ways to prevent heat stroke in a chinchilla is to have plenty of chin chillers around during hotter hours of the day, as well as keep the air conditioner between 65º and 68º Fahrenheit.
During playtime, it’s important to keep a close eye on your chinchilla and make sure they aren’t overexerting themselves, as this is another common cause of heat stroke.
Prevention is key when it comes to teeth problems, as once a chinchilla has a malocclusion, it’s almost impossible to reverse unless caught early.
Taking a few mindful steps in your daily routine will prevent your chinchilla from developing bloat, which is another serious issue among the list of medical conditions.
The biggest step to preventing bloat is making sure your chinchilla has a proper diet for its nutritional needs. We recommend Mazuri or Oxbow pellet food to ensure your chinchilla is getting everything they need.
You can also prevent bloating in your chinchilla by making sure that there is no foreign material in their cage that they may chew on that can cause blockages in the digestive tract.
If you are looking for a way to reduce your out-of-pocket costs at the veterinarian, chinchilla insurance can be a great choice.
There are many types of insurance plans out there, and they all have their own benefits and drawbacks, but by researching and analyzing your chinchilla's specific needs, you'll be certain to find the right one for you and your furry friend.