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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Exotic Bird Health Insurance (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Skip Way
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Has anyone used or considered using VPI Exotic Pet Insurance for your exotic birds? They offer coverage for my Cockatoo's vet expenses up to $7000 a year for accident, illness and emergencies and $181 a year for routine visits for $23.00 a month. I don't see this as unreasonable considering that my last two vet visits topped $300. Just curious...

Thanks!
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Cyberqat
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We've looked at it a few times. In general we decided it didn't pay.

Although there is some economic funniness in human health insurance (health insurers get charged radically lower rates then individuals) *in general* insurance is always a case of betting against yourself and hoping you will lose. The insurance company MUST charge you more then, on average, your claims will cost in order to be a business.

Look VERY closely at the fine print of the plan document of any insurance you buy. This isn't the "schedule" they hand you. that's just marketing info and is boiled down and simplified. Its the thing they make you actually sign you want to read carefully for any exclusions. For instance, you say they cap routine visits at $181 a year. How much of the care you have experienced already counts as "routine?"

Finally, you want to be sure of the solvency of any insurer you buy insurance from. Guess what happens if they are unable to pay their bills? The responsibility to pay goes *right* back to you. So you could pay them for 3 years and, if they go out of busienss the day before your bird needs major surgery, your hosed.

The correct use of insurance, from a mathematical perspective, is to cover v. the small chance of a bill so large it would be major financial hardship for you to try to pay it.
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Cyberqat
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FYI, here's the Consumer Reports short take on pet health insurance:
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money......ov_1.htm

They didn't deal with exotics but in general their conclusion was that it wasn't a good deal.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Skip Way
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Thanks, CQ. That was pretty much my line of reasoning. She's a young and very healthy little critter. Looking over my vet's fee schedule, there isn't much that could happen to her that would put me in a financial bind.

That said, the thought of paying VPI $276 a year ($95 if you consider the $181 reimbursement for semiannual exams, tests, inoculations and clippings) on the off chance that she may need $1000+ in emergency, accident or serious illness care is not unreasonable to me. I've been paying around $200 per year for a decade on performer liability insurance that I have never used and probably never will - but, wouldn't want to be without.

I don't mean to argue (I really appreciate the advice!) but, it isn't so much that they have to charge me more than my claims will cost to stay in business. Like any insurance, they're gambling that the majority of the covered birds will remain healthy and need little to no major treatment as the premiums come in. The expense for one ill bird is spread among fifty or a hundred healthy ones.

I'm with you. The decision requires thought as to whether or not it is financially feasible - which is why I've asked for advice. Thanks for responding!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

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Cyberqat
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Oh I didn't mean to imply they had to charge YOU personally more then you cost them. that's what I meant by "on the average." Over the entire insured population they have to charge more then the care costs. that's why it makes sense for covering rare and large hardships. Your spreading risk.

But, what I did mean was that its exactly like a quarter in the slot machine. Your over-all percentage *chance* of getting back that quarter has to be less then 50% or the casino goes out of business. Insurance is exactly the same math. Some few people hit it big on the slot machine, but for most of the players its a loss.

However, the costs of a catastrophic illness go beyond the pure monetary figures and can cost more then you might ever pay in. The question you have to ask yourself is "how large could a vet bill get and what can I cover without it ruining my life", then insure for the difference between the two.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Cyberqat
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As CU pointed out however, many of the policies scale back the % of the bill they pay with age, so figure that in too.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Cyberqat
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I'd also note that many vets are willing to work with their clients and create payment schedules for unforseen catastrophic illness. I've even seen vets just forgive part of the bill. As a rule they would rather the animal get proper care then let finances get in the way.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
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