Last year I wrote a post about Ferret Pet Insurance, and it turned out to be one of the most popular on the site. It seems a lot of "ferret parents" are looking for this coverage- I know I was too. You see part of being a good ferret Mommy or Daddy is ensuring that your little ones get the veterinary care that they need. That means annual visits for checkups, the regular shots, and of course taking them in when they're feeling under the weather. We actually took our business (cracks me up, that's the term for a bunch of ferrets. Is a lot of them a corporation? Bandit, Inc.???) to the vet and had preemptive bloodwork done- that way when they do get sick the vet has a baseline to compare to. I suspect we're a little over protective of the little ones- but that's okay, I can handle the label. Seeing the war dance after a long day of ferret fishing makes it all worthwhile. 🙂
So Why Would I Need Ferret Pet Insurance?
Well, if you've taken your ferrets in for a checkup, you know it's not uncommon to leave with $100 vet bill. If something seriously is wrong, it can get expensive fast. We made one panicked trip to the vet on a Saturday at 2am for "respiratory distress". That's when your furkid is grasping for breath, wheezing horribly and STOPS BREATHING on the car trip. I didn't think twice about signing that $500 check when she was okay. Of course later I was ready to pass out myself when I found out all the emergency vet did was put her in a little oxygen tent and bill us, but that's a different story. The reality is having a ferret can be expensive. And multiple ferrets can be very expensive- particularly if they develop insulinoma or adrenal disease. If you're looking at these kinds of expenses, it makes sense to look into insurance, so that's exactly what I did.
What Are My Options
Well if you have a dog or a cat, there's an absolute ton of pet insurance companies out there. A quick Google search and you'll find page after page all set to make sure they're covered. With exotic pets, you're much more limited. Last year, and this year, I only found two out of over 20 companies that will insure ferrets. Of that, one of them is in the UK, which doesn't help if you live in the US, like 97% of my readers. The one company that does insure carpet sharks is VPI. They're a good company- but there are some serious limitations on a ferret policy. When I wrote to them, this was part of the information I received, "...However, like most insurance policies, VPI has some exclusions to help keep premiums low. For ferrets, the diagnosis, medical management, or surgical correction of any endocrine tumors, both benign and malignant, or endocrine hyperplasias of any kind are excluded from policy coverage." (Extract quoted for brevity, you can read their full response on the first post I linked at the beginning of the article). When you realize they're charging you somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 a year for the policy, and you can go through 3 years of premiums in a couple of vet visits with a ferret with insulinoma, you can see why they limit the policy. But how do you limit YOUR expenses and still take care of the furkids? I think I have the answer.
Better Coverage Without a Policy
What I found was a company called Pet Assure. They do things differently than a traditional insurance company. They provide discounts- for both your and your veterinarian. Here's how it works. Let's say I have one ferret now, who needs her teeth cleaned. It's an elective procedure, so even if I had insurance, odds are it wouldn't be covered. If I was enrolled, no problem, I get a 25% discount on my visit. Now it's worse, she's really sick, and it's a pre-existing condition. I can't even get insurance. Doesn't matter, with Pet Assure I can still sign up, and get that 25% discount, every time. No waiting periods- surgery, shots, you name it, all at a discount. Pretty cool, huh? How about no claim forms, and no deductibles?
So what's in it for the vets? Actually it's good for them as well. In exchange for providing discounts to folks like you and me on healthcare for the little ankle biters, they get discounts on office supplies, and medical supplies too. They also get their own website. And how about a steady stream of referrals of new patients as more and more people sign up. Sound like win/win? What if I told you it was about half the cost of traditional coverage? It gets better. In addition to the veterinary visits, you can also get up to 50% off pet food, art, supplies. If you've got dogs or cats, they have a lost pet recovery service (sorry, ferrets won't wear collars and tags, lol).
So what's this cost? $100 a year? Nope, you're looking at $60 a year if you pay up front, or a whopping $6 a month if you go monthly. At that price, you have to ask yourself if you can afford NOT to have the plan. Anyway, because we believe in the program, I contacted Pet Assure and asked them if they could put together a discount for Laughing Ferret readers. They did- so now if you sign up, you can get your first discount, 10% off, on the coverage itself. All you have to do is use the super special secret promo code: ferret10. Just look for the “Enter Promo Code” box and plug it in. Sign up with Pet Assure and claim the discount at the link below. Here's hoping your ferrets stay happy and healthy from now on. And if they do get sick, I hope that you can find veterinary care that's one, good quality, and two, affordable. Having a good discount program can help with that.