Pet Insurance For Rats- Worth It?

Pet Insurance For Rats- Worth It?

Finding an exotic vet that treats pet rats is hard enough, and finding pet insurance for them is even harder! Many first time rat owners have heard how beneficial having pet insurance is for their dogs and cats is and often wonder if the same goes for their pocket pets. As of right now, there is only one pet insurance in the US that covers exotics, pet rats included- VPI. But is pet insurance for rats really worth it?

Many rat illnesses are recurring, such as respiratory infections, and some rat owners find themselves making trips to their vet to treat them and most of us we keep more than one rat, often resulting in multiple vet bills. Many rat owners find themselves in the position where they simply cannot afford another trip to the vet resulting in countless rats having to suffer with their ailment for longer. Having pet insurance is definitely something to consider.

Some other issues that rats might have that require a trip to the vet, where pet insurance could come in handy would be teeth issues, cancer, respiratory issues, and skin issues such parasites and infections.

VPI does not cover treatment for internal or external parasites,congenital or hereditary conditions, behavioral therapy or training, orthodontics, and conditions related to breeding. It also does not cover benign or malignant endocrine tumors in ferrets since they are very common. Preexisting conditions are not covered unless the condition is temporary and has been cured for at least 6 months. This would be an injury or illness that began or was contracted manifested or incurred before the date of the policy coverage began…since most rats are carriers for mycoplasmois, would that be considered preexisting condition when it causes additional respiratory problems? Chronic conditions are included as long as they are not considered preexisting. Special diets, vitamins, and mineral supplements are also not covered.

Benign tumors such as mammary fibroadenoma or as we call them, simply as mammary tumors, are very common in rats as well…so does that mean one of the most expensive treatments that you would need to see a vet for, isn’t covered? Cancers that are considered to be hereditary or genetic may not be covered. And external parasites? You need a prescription for Revolution to treat your rat for mites/lice- so that wouldn’t be covered? Then there is the whole “congenital or hereditary conditions”…could there possibly be a grayer area? What do they consider congenital or hereditary? Would your wonderful little feeder-bin rescue fall into that area when they have reoccurring myco flare ups?

When I called VPI for more information on exotic pet care coverage, I was told that it does cover “accidents, illnesses, exams, lab fees, prescriptions, x-rays, hospitalization, and more”. There is a $50 deductible per incident, with a 90% payout of invoice amount or benefit schedule reimbursement, whichever is less. Coverages vary per state but average about $9 per month per rat…but you must have had your rat for at least 2 months, and they must be at least 3 months of age prior to enrollment, to receive coverage on them. And there is no discount for multiple ratties. However, you can choose any licensed vet. They do have a 10 day money back guarantee as long as you have not filed a claim, but you also have a waiting period of 14 days after the policy effective date for accidents and illnesses.

So what it boils down to is that while pet insurance can be very helpful- it has its limitations when it comes to pet rats. You would have to take into consideration of your rats’ health and whether or not the reimbursement is enough to cover the cost for the coverage in itself. Price wise, VPI insurance appears to be fairly inexpensive (figuring a rat’s average lifespan is about 2.5 years, at $9 a month that would only be about $270- just a bit more than what you might pay for a really nice cage). However, you are reimbursed with this insurance coverage- you still have to pay the vet at the time of your visit so if your pockets and your wallet are empty, this insurance won’t be too helpful at the time of the incident.

If you should decide that VPI pet insurance is right for you and you ratties, you can get more information at www.petinsurance.com/plans-and-coverage/bird-and-exotic-pet-insurance.aspx

For an extensive listing of US veterinarians that treat pets rats, please visit my page HERE.