Tortoise insurance – what you need to know


So you’re thinking of insuring your tortoise? Chances are you’ll be weighing up your options and whether you’ll really need it….

Table of contents: What are the benefits of insurance? Can I get pet insurance for a tortoise? Why are vet costs so high? How much does it cost to insure a tortoise? Common tortoise diseases and insurance claims Pet insurance exclusions and pre-existing conditions

So why should you consider insurance? And how do you plan ahead for those unexpected vet fees? Should you save money in a bank account? Borrow money if you need it? You’ll be listening to friend’s opinions, checking out Facebook forums, and generally doing some thinking. But it needn’t be a headache.



You may like to read Tortoise food and diet advice

What are the benefits of insurance?

As you know tortoises can be full of mischief, and can get themselves into all sorts of scrapes.

So even though you’re careful with your tortoise incidents and accidents can happen.

This can result in the dreaded ‘Unexpected Vet Visit’. It’s not a routine visit – where you know how much it’s going to cost.

You may have saved some money for such a time, however this may not be enough.

Pet insurance can take the worry out of those unexpected vet visits, so that you can focus on providing the best possible care for your tortoise.

You may like to read: The pros and cons of pet insurance


Can I get pet insurance for a tortoise?

The good news is yes.

With ExoticDirect you can choose to insure your tortoise for £2,500 of vet fees, or insure for theft and death as well.

If you don’t want to insure for vet fees, you can choose to insure for death and theft.


Hermione was very poorly with a respiratory tract disease. We helped her and her human mum out. Read their story  

Find out what other claims we paid in 2016.

Why are vet costs so high?

Advances in technology now mean that a sick pet has a much better chance of getting better. Diagnostic equipment has improved, and better treatment options are available.

This is fantastic news for pets and owners alike. It’s great to know that our pets have got a better chance of recovery.

However, with improvement comes cost. Some vet practices aren’t able to absorb the costs of improved technology and treatments, and the cost needs to be passed to the pet owner.

VAT is another factor that can contribute towards the cost of your vet bill. This stands at 20%, and has to be added to your vet bill.

Vet practices are also under a legal obligation to run a 24 hour a day, 365 days a week service. For smaller practices, this can be a challenge to maintain.

This is reflected in the statistics published the Association of British Insurers (ABI) revealing that in 2016 the average UK pet insurance claim rose by 5% when compared to 2015.

According to Pete Wedderburn, a vet and newspaper columnist, a vet will make £2-£2.50 out of every £10 paid in fees. The rest goes towards the running of the clinic.

Pet tortoise insurance can include:


  • £2,500 Vet fee cover for accidental injury or illness
  • Theft cover
  • Death cover
  • If you lose your tortoise, we’ll also notify the Lost and Found Register on your behalf.


If you own an older tortoise, we can insure it up to the age of 50. 

How much does it cost to insure a Tortoise?

To insure your tortoise for £2,500 of vet fees it will cost around £12.69 a month.

To insure a £200 tortoise for £2,500 of vet fees, death and theft it will cost around £14.37 a month.

Find out more about Tortoise insurance or

Get a quote

Alternatively you can call us on 0345 982 5505

Common tortoise diseases and insurance claims

Respiratory problems are the most common condition we see claims for. During 2016 these included:


  • Mycoplasma pneumonia in a Leopard tortoise (total claim paid of £718.62) Symptoms included nasal discharge.
  • An African Sulcata tortoise, whose total claim was paid for £824.92. Tests for the Herpes virus and Mycoplasma were negative, however he was still ill.

Loss of appetite is another common claim, with illness and infection often the cause.

  • A claim of £1785 for a Hermanns tortoise was met in 2016. He was suffering with loss of appetite, lethargy and liver disease.


Pet insurance exclusions and pre-existing conditions

Most insurers have a list of pre-existing conditions they won’t cover. You can see what ExoticDirect won’t cover in our Policy book.

Peter Jones of the British Veterinary Association said “All pet insurance policies have some exclusions, the most common being pre-existing conditions, anything related to pregnancy or birth, and any routine, preventative or planned treatments such as vaccinations and spaying.”

ExoticDirect paid 92% of all claims received during 2016.

When applying for a policy it’s really important that you let us know about any conditions that your pet may have, or has suffered from in the last 12 months.

This is because non-disclosure can affect any claim you may make in the future.

About ExoticDirect

We’ve been insuring exotic pets since 1996, so we’ve got loads of knowledge about these amazing pets.


  • Cover is immediate (naturally subject to Terms and Conditions)
  • We can pay your vet directly
  • We aim to process claims within 5 working days
  • We offer a 0% (APR) Direct Debit scheme


Find out more about Tortoise insurance or

Get a quote

Alternatively you can call us on 0345 982 5505

Tamara Labelle
7 Aug 2017

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