Insure Your Cockatoo
Owning a pet cockatoo is a big responsibility. They require a large safe cage with lots of toys and daily attention and care.
Another big issue is health care. Medical costs have skyrocketed for animals as well as humans. Because of this, some pet owners are choosing to invest in health insurance for their beloved animals.
Insurance helps a pet owner if unexpected, and expensive, health problems occur. But not all insurance is created equal. Make sure you know exactly what you are buying.
Ask for complete information on the insurance and read the fine print. Don’t trust only a sales brochure.
Health Problems of Cockatoos
Many health issues can occur with your cockatoo, some of them costly.
Here are a few of the more common problems:
Psittacosis is a serious disease that can affect cockatoos and parrots. It is caused by bacteria. One of the major problems with this disease is it can be spread to people as well as other animals. It is easily treated with antibiotics but treatment needs to start as quickly as possible.
PBFD (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease) is a serious virus that can affect your bird. It can cause lesions, and abnormal growth of beaks and feathers. It is extremely contagious to other birds. If you notice abnormalities on your bird’s beak, a lack of down on feathers, abnormal feather development or growths and lesions on your bird – immediately move him away from other birds and seek help from your avian vet. Sadly, there is currently no cure for this deadly disease.
Obesity often occurs in cockatoos and can cause a number of health issues including fatty liver disease, and lipomas. This can be prevented by feeding your bird the correct diet and making sure it gets plenty of exercise. Once health problems have occurred it’s harder to correct them.
Bumblefoot is a disease that causes the bird’s feet to swell and lesions to occur. If not treated lameness can occur and amputation may eventually be required.
Taking your cockatoo for annual checkups will help prevent health problems or at least help them be found and treated quickly.
Cockatoos need lots of attention and without it they may start picking their feathers or screeching loudly. This is usually the sign of behavioral problems not health issues. Do some research regarding how to help your bird overcome these problems. You vet may have some suggestions, as well as other bird owners.
Here are a few things to consider before purchasing health insurance for your cockatoo:
What health issues are covered? You may think that every possible type of illness or disease is covered by your policy but this isn’t always the case. Many insurance policies exclude some problems.
What is the deductible? Some may be as low as $250 and others as high as $1,000. You need to know how much your portion will be before the insurance starts paying. A lower deductible usually means a lower premium so be sure to calculate which is best for your financial situation.
If you usually have large sums of cash in savings a higher deductible may save you money in the long run. But if your cash reserves are low you may not be able to handle a large deductible when a health problem occurs.
How much will you have to pay after the deductible is paid? Some insurance will cover all costs after the deductible is met, others 20% and some only 50%.
Find out what the waiting time is before the insurance is in full effect. Some insurance companies have a waiting period of thirty days and some sixty days.
Ask if your avian veterinarian accepts the insurance. It’s not always easy to find a vet that treats birds, so if you have a vet you like and he is close by, you don’t want to have to change to accommodate your insurance. You definitely don’t want it to be surprise. Your vet may have a specific insurance company that he recommends.
Are prescriptions covered? Some insurance covers medicine and some do not. This can be one of the biggest expenses you encounter so find out in advance if all medication is covered and if not, which are excluded.
Find out if annual visits are covered. It’s important that your bird have regular check-ups just as you do.
Understand that with most pet insurance you must pay the vet upfront and then send in forms to the insurance company for reimbursement. It does not work like health insurance for people where the provider sends the claims directly to the insurance company and waits for payment directly from them. You will have to pay the charges at the time of service.
To expedite the process of filing claims; some insurance companies allow you to file claims online and then send reimbursement payments directly to your bank account. This can drastically reduce the time it takes to get your money back. Find out exactly what the process is for filing claims and the expected wait times.
If your bird has already had any type of health problem it may be considered a pre-existing condition and issues involving that condition will not be covered.
Ask about what kind of customer service is offered.
Some people find that simply setting up a savings account and adding a little money each month is a better way for them to plan for medical emergencies for their pet. Be honest with yourself about your ability to stick with a savings plan. Even with insurance, this can be a good way to plan for unexpected costs for your pet cockatoo.
It’s always a good idea to ask fellow bird owners their experiences. Ask what company they use and how complicated the process was for getting payment. Did the company asked for further information? Did they deny any charges? Did they pay quickly?
Buying insurance for your pet cockatoo can be a wise investment, but be sure and do your research before making your purchase.