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Bunny basics: Have you insured your Easter bunny?

rabbit-insuranceIf you’re thinking about purchasing a bunny as a pet this Easter, there are some considerations. These floppy-eared creatures can be high-maintenance animals. However, if you’ve decided that a rabbit is the right pet for your family, you might consider buying pet insurance. Also, check with your home insurance agent to see if your policy would pay for certain damages caused by your new furry friend.

Home insurance and your bunny

According to the House Rabbit Society, thousands of baby rabbits are purchased as gifts around Easter each year. However, many are left abandoned in the weeks and months that follow the holiday when children get bored with them or parents realize that they can wreck havoc on a home. If rabbits are left unneutered, they can chew, spray and dig around your home. In addition, Thumper has been known to chew on cords and furniture, according to the society.

Unfortunately, your homeowner insurance is unlikely to cover the damage wrecked by your pet. Dick Luedke, spokesperson for State Farm Insurance, says that a standard home insurance policy contains an exclusion for damaged caused by domestic animals. For example, if your pet (rabbit, dog or cat) causes extensive damage to your carpet and it needs to be replaced, you will generally have to pay for it out-of-pocket.  

“It will generally not be covered,” says Luedke. “Of course, even if the exclusion wasn’t there, there would have to be a lot of damage for the coverage to kick in – depending on your deducible.”

The exclusion applies only to domestic animals. Your home insurance policy will likely have you covered if a wild animal breaks into your home and wrecks havoc. 

Top 10 rabbit names

Charlie

Jack

Bandit

Bella

Max

Gracie

Chloe

Gizmo

Smokey

Thumper

Source: VPI

Bunny pet insurance

If your bunny experiences health problems, veterinary bills can take a bite out of your wallet. According to Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the largest pet insurer in the nation and the only insurance company in the nation that sells pet insurance for rabbits, these animals can suffer from a variety of health conditions. Rabbits commonly suffer from bowel obstruction, overgrown teeth, bladder infections, upper respiratory infections, skin tumors, arthritis and ear and eye infections. That’s why many people choose to buy pet insurance for them.  

“Rabbits are actually third to dogs and cats,” says Grant Biniasz, spokesperson for VPI. “We presently insure about 2,000 rabbits.”

For $8 a month, you can buy VPI’s exotic pets policy. These policies are offered for other exotic animals including reptiles, turtles and birds (larger exotic pets will be more expensive to insure). This policy, called the Avian & Exotic plan, provides benefits for accidents and illnesses, everything from a laceration, or broken leg to skin cancer or allergies. General exclusions include special diets, boarding or transport expenses, behavioral problems and removal of deciduous teeth.

Biniasz says that the “exotic pet” plan works the same as a policy for dogs or cats. Owners pay for the veterinary services and then submit their receipts for reimbursement from the insurer. The most common condition, bowel obstruction, cost policyholders an average of $260 per claim in 2010. Overall, the average claim in 2010 was $120, says Biniasz.

Policies for dogs and cats can be purchased online, but an exotic pet policy must be purchased over the phone.

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