Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 19, 2022

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Pets are family, and we care about them to the point where pet insurance exists, which is wonderful! However, to buy home insurance that allows coverage for exotic animals is unlikely to happen. Most policies will require an exclusion that says your exotic pet is not covered. You can, however, purchase separate insurance for exotic pets (visit the pet insurance section of our site for additional information). Read on for the details and conditions that are required.

If you are the owner of exotic pets, it may be very difficult to find a home insurance policy that covers your pets. When an insurance company insures a home with an exotic pet, they are taking on unique risks including personal liability if someone in your home is bitten or even attacked by the animal. So, finding home insurance that allows exotic pets can be hard.

They are also taking on increased property damage risk, if your pet damages the home or escapes to the yard and causes damage. Pet owners know that a wide range of situations can occur from an energetic pet, but don’t let this discourage you. There are still some home insurance options available for you.

Read on to learn all about exotic pets and homeowners insurance.

What qualifies as an exotic pet?

An exotic pet is an animal that is unusual or rare and is not normally kept as a pet. This is open to a wide interpretation, but when it comes to the insurance company, they will classify anything that is not a traditional pet, as an exotic animal. You can try to make a point otherwise, but it is entirely up to the insurance company as to how your pet is classified and how it will affect your coverage.

The definition is changing as more and more people take rare animals as pets.

Most home owners insurance companies take their cues from veterinary insurance carriers who typically define animals besides fish, small birds, dogs, or cats as exotic.

However, some pets, such as various types of rodents like mice, and some reptiles, such as turtles, are beginning to be accepted by insurance companies as traditional pets.

There is a standard list among insurance companies that continues to grow. This list is called ‘The Exotic Pet Species Index’. As insurance companies collaborate to give a more unified definition of exotic, they add to the list of animals that have people have requested coverage for or been found to have in the home.

Included on this list are alligators, skunks, raccoon, chinchillas, sugar gliders, wild feline cubs, non-human primates, and bears. It is important to remember, just because you purchase your pet at a pet store, that does not qualify it as non-exotic.

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How can you get coverage for exotic pets?

Having an exotic pet in your home offers you a few options when it comes to insurance, however, there could be limits as well. First of all, you can have a clause to your traditional home insurance policy that excludes anything involving the pet including both injury and damage. So essentially, your home has coverage, but your pet does not. Any damage done by the pet to your home or an injury to a person on your property caused by the pet, will not be covered under your insurance policy. Additionally, if your pet has any pre-existing conditions, just like with a non-exotic pet, those would not be covered, either.

The other option is to get an individual pet insurance policy for exotics.

These policies are obtained through individual pet insurance companies. The best way to get a policy is to do your own research. Find out how likely your pet is to succumb to illness, bite, or cause damage. Present this information to the pet insurance company and together you can come up with a coverage amount that is reasonable. We would spend all the money we could to protect them, but we need to be reasonable and fit things into a budget. Once you’ve found an average cost that works for you, you’re on the way to giving your pet the protection it deserves. Plus, if it’s a pet that is becoming more common, the insurance company may already have information ready for you.

To go the traditional route and have your exotic pet coverage through your home insurance policy is another option. But be aware, it is very difficult to find a home insurance company that will cover exotic pets. There are a lot of issues that could arise by covering an exotic pet, accident & illness alike, and insurance companies try to avoid high-risk situations.

Most companies will cover the home, but exclude the pet, even large breed guard dogs such as German shepherds and pit bulls are often excluded (read our articles about German Shepherds and home insurance as well and Pit Bulls and home insurance. If you do find a company that will provide you with a pet health insurance policy, there are two types of coverage: damage to your pet and damage from your pet.

Getting coverage for your pet allows you to take them for routine checkups to make sure they’re in good health or allowing them veterinary care in case of illness. Getting coverage that protects against your pet means that if they have behavioural issues and end up tearing up your house, those damages will be covered too.

Having coverage options makes it a little easier to make a choice; what you end up choosing all depends on what you think your pet is capable of. If your exotic pet doesn’t have a history of afflictions and has a clean bill of health, chances are you won’t need preventive care, though some people prefer to prepare for worst-case scenarios.

How do you choose a company?

Insurance companies are very picky about what animals they will insure, especially with all the recent media coverage about exotic pet attacks.

If you don’t disclose your exotic pet ownership when getting a homeowners insurance policy, you could lose all coverage when it is brought to light. This means that you will be left paying all expenses associated with the damage or situation, and it will make it difficult to find a new insurance policy. You could also face a higher premium afterwards, if you’re declared high-risk, in order for the company to recover costs.

The best way to find a home insurance policy that covers exotic pets is to compare what different companies offer. You can do this over the phone, but it is quite time consuming. The more efficient way to do this is to compare rates and quotes through an online comparison tool.

This tool will help you find companies within your budget that cover your insurance needs. Once you have the information from the comparison tool, you can contact the companies that interest you with your questions about your exotic pets. Giving your pet complete care coverage can be beneficial for not just your pet, but for your entire life as well. They’ll be safe and provided with the medical care that they need, and your home will be safe in case they decide to use it as their personal playpen.