Snake insurance

Find out all you need to know about buying and insuring a snake - one of nature's most misunderstood pets.

Gocompare.com's partner ExoticDirect[1] offers snake insurance and is the UK's only insurer to offer cover in the event of your snake being stolen

Snakes have had a bad reputation since the time of Adam and Eve, but this hasn't lessened their popularity as a pet.

If you fancy a companion with a cooler disposition, a snake could be the pet for you.

Snakes may be cold to the touch but they make surprisingly warm company; many snake owners profess to have a close bond with their scaly friend!

While the number of snake owners isn't large, the snake's popularity has grown in recent years, along with that of other reptiles.

Docile species of snake such as the ball python and corn snake are commonly kept as pets.

Most common species do not exceed five feet (1.5m) in length so need a relatively small amount of space.

As well as paying out if your reptile is stolen, pet insurance can provide cover for accidents, illness and weather perils such as storms, lightning and floods.

Do all pet insurers offer snake insurance?

Not usually. Most insurers will only insure your run-of-the-mill tabby or golden retriever, and don't offer insurance for unusual beasties like reptiles or insects.

However, Gocompare.com's partner ExoticDirect[1] offers snake insurance and is the UK's only insurer to offer cover in the event of your snake being stolen.

How do I buy snake insurance?

When you click the 'Get Quotes' button to enter Gocompare.com's pet insurance comparison service, you'll immediately see an option asking whether you're looking to cover a pet other than a cat or dog.

If you're looking to insure a snake, follow that link through to the ExoticDirect site. Answer a few quick questions about your snake and input your basic personal details and you'll be presented with your quote.

You'll need to know your snake's hatch date (the day it was born), but if you don't know this you can give an approximate date.

What does snake insurance cover?

ExoticDirect has three different options when it comes to insuring your snake.

Your local RSPCA centre may be able to tell you about any snakes that need rehoming

The first is a vet fee only policy covering treatment for injuries or illness.

The second policy covers your reptile in the event of death, theft and weather perils, while the final type of snake insurance is a combined policy including cover for death, theft, weather perils and vet fees.

Vet fee cover applies per policy rather than per pet, which means that the additional cost of adding extra animals to the policy is kept to a minimum.

Where do I buy a snake?

Try to buy your snake from a reputable breeder the Herpetological Society or an exotic vet may be able to point you in the right direction.

Your snake should be captive bred, not wild.

Your local RSPCA centre may also be able to tell you about any snakes that need rehoming.

Where should I keep my snake?

While most snakes commonly kept as pets remain fairly small, some can grow to a very large size.

Research how big your choice of snake could get and buy an appropriate enclosure, one where you can regulate temperature to ensure the conditions are suitable.

Snakes and other non-domesticated reptiles are difficult pets to keep.

You should familiarise yourself with the needs of your snake and its specific breed before you take on a potentially challenging responsibility.

Potential health issues in popular breeds of snake include:

Many breeds of snake can live for up to 40 years, so you'll need to plan for your snake's future
  • Bone disease
  • Burns from incorrect lighting and heating
  • Inability to shed skin
  • Respiratory infections
  • Blister disease
  • Internal parasites
  • External parasites
  • Mouth rot
  • Dehydration
  • Anorexia
  • Digestive problems

If cared for properly many breeds of snake can live for up to 40 years, so you'll need to plan for your snake's future, and think about the implications if, for example, you plan to move to smaller house.

See also:

By Emily Bater