Our animals, whether they be furry, feathered, or scaly, deserve the best life we can give them. Despite doing everything right and providing the best care, illnesses and accidents can still happen, though. That’s why it’s important to have all your bases covered by investing in pet insurance to help offset some of the costly vet bills you may incur as a pet owner.
Bearded dragons may not be typical pets, but they are still worthy of pet insurance if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with a company that offers insurance for exotic animals. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about getting pet insurance for your beardie and how to keep him as healthy as possible to prevent unnecessary vet bills.
What Are the Benefits of Getting Insurance for My Bearded Dragon?
The most obvious benefit of investing in pet insurance for your bearded dragon is that it can help out if your pet becomes sick and your vet bills start to pile up. Your insurance provider will pay for the brunt of your expensive bill, taking some of the financial burdens off of your shoulders.
It’s important to note that bearded dragons are considered exotic pets and, as such, will require care from a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals. Not every vet can provide the standard of care your bearded dragon needs, so it’s essential that you find an exotic vet you trust to take care of your reptile. Since these specialized vets need additional education to provide care for exotics, you should expect to pay more for even the most standard procedures and check-ups.
How Much Does Bearded Dragon Pet Insurance Cost?
The cost of insurance for your bearded dragon will depend upon the company you choose. At the time of writing, there aren’t a lot of options for pet insurance for reptiles, but here’s what we’ve found.
Exotic Direct is an insurance provider that services reptile owners based in the United Kingdom. They have three policy options to choose from: Basic, Essential, and Premier.
The Basic Plan costs £4.35 every month for 10 months. The Essential Plan is a step above with 10 monthly payments of £12.82, while the Premium Plan costs £14.63 per month for 10 months. The coverage level varies from plan to plan.
Nationwide seems to be the only America-based pet insurance company that covers exotic animals. They are much less transparent than Exotic Direct with their policies for exotic animals, and we were unable to get a quote online. For more information about Nationwide’s exotic pet plan, give them a call at 888-899-4874.
Petcover is an insurance company based in Australia that provides coverage for some exotic animals. Your pet must have a microchip number to be insured and to receive a quote which we were unable to do for the purposes of this blog. They have three policy options: Premier, Plus, and Value.
What’s Included with Bearded Dragon Pet Insurance?
The coverage level of your bearded dragon’s insurance plan will depend upon the company you’re using and the policy you choose.
Exotic Direct’s Basic Plan doesn’t offer much aside from the replacement cost of your bearded dragon if he were to die due to an accident or sickness.
The Essentials Plan covers up to £1,000 in veterinary fees for accidents, illnesses, or diseases.
The Premier Plan combines the two. It covers the replacement cost of your pet if he were to die as seen in the Basic Plan as well as up to £1,000 in vet fees.
Nationwide is a little more transparent with their exotic pet coverage details than they were with the pricing.
Their plan will pay 90% of the veterinary services benefit schedule (found here) with payments up to a maximum of $2,000 per accident or illness and a maximum of $7,000 per policy term.
As with any health insurance, there are some exclusions that Nationwide will not pay for. This includes things such as pre-existing injuries or illnesses, parasites, routine care, hereditary defects, elective procedures, or breeding.
Petcovers’ three policy options all provide different levels of coverage. Coverage amounts range anywhere between $2,000 (Value) and $6,000 (Premier) in veterinary fees. They also provide coverage for some alternative treatments, diagnostic examinations, and the cost of specialist vet treatments up to the maximum benefit, which varies by policy plan.
There are some uninsurable things that most pet insurance companies will not provide coverage for. This includes things like pre-existing conditions, preventative surgeries, cosmetic procedures, or anything relating to breeding.
How Can I Keep My Bearded Dragon Healthy?
Sadly, you can’t prevent every health condition or illness to avoid ever having to take your bearded dragon to the pet and incur expensive vet bills in the first place. There are some things you can do as a pet owner, however, that will ensure your beardie is as healthy as possible.
One of the most vital things you must provide your bearded dragon is a proper vivarium setup. They have very specific environmental needs to not only stay comfortable but healthy, too. Their vivarium needs to be well-ventilated with one end being hot and one being cool to mimic their natural habitat. You must also provide a UV tube light to prevent metabolic bone disease, which can significantly impact their quality of life and how long they live.
A bearded dragon’s diet needs to include insects and vegetables. Most beardies are happy with crickets, though some prefer feeder insects like dubia roaches or black soldier fly larvae. As for veggies, they need leaf greens like kale and other colorful vegetables like peppers or carrots. You can even offer some fruit as a treat and for a little more variety.
Beardies should get most of the vitamins and minerals they need from their food, but supplement powders can ensure they’re getting what they need nutritionally to thrive. They need calcium to lower their risk of developing metabolic bone disease and vitamin D to help absorb the calcium.
Are There Alternatives to Pet Insurance?
Yes, there are alternatives to pet insurance for your bearded dragon.
The best alternative to consider if you’re facing a big bill is to chat with your vet’s office to see if you can work out a payment plan. Many veterinarians understand that the high cost of animal care isn’t always feasible for pet parents, which is why these forward-thinking offices provide a payment plan option. This will allow you to pay off your bill in easy-to-digest monthly payments instead of facing a huge, overwhelming bill that isn’t in your budget.
Another viable option is to sign up for CareCredit. CareCredit works a lot like a credit card and allows for easier healthcare financing for your pet. You can pay your entire bill at one time with the card and then pay it off in monthly installments. Not every vet’s office will accept CareCredit, however, so it’s best to speak with the receptionists at your office to determine if this is a viable option for you.
Investing in pet insurance for your bearded dragon is a great thing to consider as it can provide peace of mind knowing you have your bases covered in case your pet falls ill or gets hurt. We do recommend investing in pet insurance for your bearded dragon if you live in the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Unfortunately for most of the rest of the world, it seems that exotic pet insurance may just be a pipe dream—at least for now.
Featured Image Credit: Joyce Mar, Shutterstock