When pet insurance was first introduced, it covered only dogs and cats. That was until recently, when exotic insurance rolled out – an umbrella term that, besides other animals, includes insurance for pet birds.
Birds are not too common in households across the country. But their numbers aren’t so insignificant to be underestimated and completely dismissed by insurance companies. In fact, there are about 6 million American families taking care of more than 20 million birds.
Pet insurance for avian (bird insurance) is quite rare and hard to find. That’s why we did the legwork for you and compiled an overview of all of the avian insurance options available to US residents.
How Much Do Pet Birds Cost?
It has always been up to supply and demand to determine the price of goods and services. When it comes to pet birds, both factors are valid, but the rarity and extravagance of the bird you’re interested in also play a huge role in shaping its price tag.
Whether coincidentally or not, the size of a bird also seems to make a difference in its price.
- Small birds can go from about $10 to about $350:
- Finch ($10-$100);
- Parakeet (Budgie) ($10-$35);
- Canary ($25-$150);
- Parrotlet ($100-350).
- Medium birds range from $20 to almost a grand:
- Dove ($20-$100);
- Cockatiel ($50-$150);
- Conure ($150-$500);
- Pionus parrot ($200-$900);
- Lory ($400-$900).
- Large birds can reach a price exceeding $5,000:
- Cockatoo ($800-$5,000+);
- Amazon parrot ($400-$3,000+);
- African Grey ($600-$2,000);
- Macaw ($900-$5,000+).
Take note that the price of your bird doesn’t indicate where your expenses end. You’d have to take into consideration the cost of their habitat, food, supplies, and upkeep equipment as well.
These would cost about $300-$1,200 in total.
Ultimately, there are the vet bills. Sooner or later, your precious avian will come under the weather and require medical attention. We’ll discuss how much certain medical conditions cost to be treated below.
What Do Birds Suffer the Most From?
If you truly care for your pet bird, you need to constantly educate yourself on the threats to their wellbeing. Birds are more prone to disease and injuries than cats and dogs, that’s why you need to stay alert in order to avoid costly vet bills.
If you let your birds fly around, there’s a risk they might hit walls, a ceiling fan, mirrors, or windows, and injure themselves. This can result in fractured limbs and/or wings, loss of feathers, bleeding, or trauma.
When it comes to diseases, let’s first address the avian flu which was quite talked about a while ago. The virus mostly attacks flocks of birds or those kept for food, not pet birds, so you have very little to worry about.
What you need to worry about are parasites. These can be passed from pet owners, other animals, or food, directly to a bird. They are very dangerous and your bird might need immediate veterinary attention.
Other conditions such as polyomavirus, psittacosis, and proventricular dilatation, are caused by certain viruses or bacteria that can cause a lot of internal organ damage, ultimately leading to death. Recognizing the symptoms early on and taking your bird to the vet is crucial to avoid the most undesirable outcome.
What’s Covered by Bird Insurance?
Acquiring pet insurance for your bird will help you get reimbursed for the vet bills for treating them when they get sick or injured.
Bird insurance provides coverage for all of the above-mentioned conditions and more. To be more precise, accidents or injuries, illnesses, escape or theft, examinations, lab fees, prescriptions, X-rays, hospitalization, and even routine care can all be covered by your insurance plan.
To get a sense of how much a vet visit could cost you if your bird isn’t covered by a pet insurance policy, take a look at the following top 10 bird conditions and the costs to treat them:
- Feather picking/loss – average cost: $305;
- Excessive egg laying – average cost: $396;
- Soft tissue trauma – average cost: $210;
- Diarrhea – average cost: $251;
- Runny nose – average cost: $265;
- Liver disease – average cost: $395;
- Internal parasites – average cost: $41;
- Upper respiratory infection – average cost: $328;
- Dehydration/constipation – average cost: $240;
- Arthritis – average cost: $178.
Considering that birds can live much longer than dogs and cats (many have a lifespan of 50+ years), imagine the hit to your bank account if you need to pay the vet a visit several times a year.
All of that can be avoided by obtaining bird insurance. Let’s see how.
Where Can I Get Insurance for My Bird?
There aren’t many options for pet insurance for exotic pets, which birds fall under, compared to what’s available for cats and dogs. However, we’ve performed extensive research and here we’ll present you with all the best options for bird insurance.
What follows are the conditions that apply to a Nationwide’s avian insurance policy, so you could get covered for your veterinary expenses:
- A flat deductible of $50 that you’ll need to pay with every incident;
- A 90% reimbursement on your vet bill, after you meet the 10% co-pay;
- Each diagnosis and procedure has a reimbursement limit that is listed on a benefit schedule. You can only be paid back with the listed amount of the given diagnosis/procedure;
- Worldwide coverage in any veterinary clinic;
- Waiting period of 14 days;
- No lifetime payout limit;
- Maximum payout pet incident is $2,000;
- Maximum annual payout is $7,000.
Additionally, Nationwide offers Avian Supplemental & Routine Care Coverage – wellness and preventive care coverage so your bird can stay healthy and happy. It’s an optional add-on that you can attach to your Avian & Exotic Pet Plan at enrollment and it has no deductible.
Be reminded that Nationwide won’t cover birds that:
- Are endangered or threatened species;
- Are venomous or poisonous;
- Are a mix or a hybrid of domesticated with wild/non-domesticated bird species;
- Are illegal to own by federal or state law;
- Require a license, permit, or registration by federal or state law.
What’s Included in the Nationwide Coverage?
Nationwide will cover your avian in the following cases:
- Diagnostics and lab tests;
- Treatments for accidents and injuries;
- Treatments for parasites, bacterial and viral infections, and cancers;
- Prescription medication;
- Pre-existing conditions that haven’t recurred.
Here’s what the wellness and preventive plan will cover once per year:
- Physical exam/office Call – $25;
- Parasite treatment – $20;
- Culture – $45;
- Panel or Titer – $40;
- Parasite Test/Fecal Exam – $10;
- CBC – $20;
- Wing trim – $7;
- Beak trim – $7;
- Nail trim – $7;
- Total benefits available: $181.
What’s Excluded From Nationwide’s Coverage?
What you won’t get covered for by Nationwide’s avian insurance policy:
- Pre-existing conditions;
- Hereditary and congenital conditions;
- Conditions missing from the benefit schedule;
- Pregnancies and breeding;
- Bird food and supplements;
- Transportation and boarding costs.
Read our full Nationwide Pet Insurance review.
Bird Insurance Alternatives
By trying out some insurance alternative options, you can make sure to get less pressure from the legal side of real insurance. However, you shouldn’t take them as genuine substitutes for pet insurance, as these alternatives only provide financial assistance when taking care of your bird’s needs.
Pet Assure is active all across the US, along with Puerto Rico and Canada. They offer a 25% discount at participating veterinary clinics in these three countries, for a cheap monthly fee.
What’s so amazing about Pet Assure is that they have no exclusions for pre-existing and hereditary conditions. Every in-house check-up or treatment gets the 25% off. The only thing they don’t apply discounts for is prescribed medication.
With Pet Assure there are no deductibles, no payout limits, no age limits, and no waiting periods. There’s also a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Although Pet Assure provides all that for a relatively low monthly fee, it is only available in about 5.600 veterinary clinics in the above-mentioned countries.
Wells Fargo Health Advantage is an unconventional way to always stay on top of your bird’s needs.
The service is actually a credit card that you can use to pay for your bird’s medical expenses and your own, whenever you need to.
Since you get a credit to fully purchase the medical service that your bird needs, there are absolutely no exclusions. Illnesses, emergencies, wellness procedures, pre-existing conditions, and hereditary conditions are all covered.
With the Wells Fargo Health Advantage credit card, you can pay your loan over time. Their APR is quite competitive and you can quickly file for an application.
Their online management tools enable easy access into your account, so you can review your monthly statements and bill payment options anytime you wish.
The only downside with Wells Fargo Health Advantage is they don’t provide information on which clinics offer their program. So, to make sure your preferred clinic is enrolled, give them a call ahead of your visit.
Another closely related service to Wells Fargo Health Advantage is CareCredit Veterinary Financing. A medical credit card crafted particularly for veterinary services with remarkable financing options.
The service is available at over 225,000 healthcare institutions across the country and it’s used for paying for any in-house procedure performed at one of the locations.
Preventive care, wellness, accidents, and illnesses can all be taken care of with CareCredit, and pre-existing and congenital conditions aren’t excluded.
Pet insurance companies almost always impose deductibles, waiting periods, age, or size restrictions for your pet birds. That’s not the case with CareCredit. They allow any type of bird to be properly treated, even a minute after you enroll with them.
But remember – just like every credit service, you’re obligated to pay back the full amount of your vet bill, modified by your custom interest rate.
What’s the Monthly Cost of a Bird Insurance Plan?
With Nationwide, your bird can get its tailored insurance plan ready in minutes. How much would it cost? Well, it all depends on the bird’s size:
- A small bird (lighter than 50 grams) can sign up for as little as $6.65/month;
- Medium-sized birds (weighing from 50 to 300 grams) need to pay a monthly fee of $9.50;
- Large birds (weighing between 301 grams and 10 kilograms) have a price point of $12.35/month;
- Extra-large birds (heavier than 10 kilograms) are required to pay $15.68/month.
Nationwide’s Routine Care Coverage for Birds costs $99 on a 12-month policy term.
Any additional bird that you add to your policy gets a 15% discount on its monthly premium.
Pet Assure’s 25% discount is available to any bird for $9.95/month or if you want to add 2-4 birds on the same plan, that would cost $16.95/month. If you happen to take care of a lot of birds (more than 4), Pet Assure has a plan for that too. It costs $21.95/month to get on it.
There’s no entry nor monthly charge to enroll with Wells Fargo Health Advantage and CareCredit. They impose an interest rate on the amount of money you loan from them to pay for your bird’s medical bills.
Do I Really Need Bird Insurance?
A feathered companion is always worth being properly looked after. If we’re willing to spend so much on insuring our materialistic possessions, then they’re definitely deserving of our dedicated protection as well.
We might not always think about their needs as we do about ours or those close to us, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. And sooner or later they’ll show they need us, so why not be prepared, instead of having to pay a large vet bill last minute.
After all, pet insurance plans for birds are one of the most affordable ones among the available options for other types of animals.
Canaries, cockatiels, and cockatoos deserve a present in the form of medical insurance, just like we’d gift ourselves one. Especially when the options for them are largely on the cheap side.
Take a look above to find out what kinds of avian insurance are available to you and tailor your plan so your birds can always tweet happily.
Lastly, head over to our Exotic Pet Insurance article if cats and dogs aren’t the only creatures you put in the “pet” category.
What’s the best bird insurance on the market?
With the limited options you have, it’s still up to your requirements to decide which plan would work best for you? If you don’t mind paying a higher monthly premium that will cover most of your bird’s needs and pay out almost all of your future vet bills, Nationwide should be your choice. Pet Assure is also great if you don’t want to bother with the insurance, but get a cheaper veterinary service when you need one.
Can you get bird insurance on an exotic pet insurance policy?
The short answer is yes. The only exotic pet insurance provider that we know of currently is Nationwide, and they include insurance for birds with their Avian and Exotic Pet Insurance plan. However, if you stumble upon another company that offers policies for exotic pets, make sure to read what’s offered or give them a call.
Will I get reimbursed by the insurance company if my parrot flies away?
Absolutely! Nationwide provides coverage for birds that are lost, stolen, missing, or deceased as a result of an accident or an illness.
Does my bird insurance plan activate the moment I enroll with the company?
If you sign up with Nationwide, you’d have to wait 14 days from the moment of enrollment to become eligible for claim submission. The waiting period is valid for both accidents and illnesses. On the other hand, with Pet Assure, Wells Fargo Health Advantage, and CareCredit, you can immediately start using their services after registering with them.
Is my birdcage covered with a pet insurance policy for birds?
We’re sorry to say that’s not the case. Pet insurance for birds covers only living pet birds that are registered on an insurance policy. To get coverage for your birdcage and other associated equipment, you’d have to sign up for a renters or homeowners insurance policy. Remember that they don’t apply coverage for the birds you keep inside the insured objects.