Parrots and Turtles – Oh My! Life Insurance and Pets

Parrots and Turtles – Oh My! Life Insurance and Pets

by Leslie Freeland, April 27, 2019

Life Insurance is Not Just for People.

Do you have a pet? If so, what type? Some pets live to 5 years old, but others can live for decades. Have you considered what would happen to your pet if you are no longer around?

This is where life insurance comes in.

You can actually use life insurance to make sure your pet receives the care they need when you can’t be there for them.

Long-lived Pets

Many people own pets that have a very long lifespan. Even if you live a long time, there may still be a chance your pet will outlive you.

Here are some common ages of pets when kept in captivity.

BIRDS

YOUNG GREEN CHEEK CONURE PARROT PET BIRD

  • Parakeets: 5-15 years
  • Doves: 12-15 years
  • Cockatiels: 16-25 years
  • Parrotlets: 15-20 years
  • Cockatoos: 30-40 years, often past 40 years
  • Grey Parrots: 30-50 years, and often over 50 years
  • Macaws: 40-50 years, but many live well past 50

So this means, if you get a pet cockatoo when you are 30 years old, it may not pass away until you are 80 plus years old!

REPTILES

Leopard gecko Eublepharis macularius in the Zoo

  • Boa Constrictors: 20-30 years
  • Ball Pythons: 20-30 years
  • Leopard Geckos: 6-10 years, males often living 15-20 years
  • Bearded Dragons: 6-10 years
  • Crested Gecko: 15-20 years
  • Russian Tortoises: about 40 years
  • Pond Slider Turtles: about 30 years
  • Box Turtles: 50 plus years

Did you buy your son or daughter a cute crested gecko for their 10th birthday? Well, that new, little family member might be around until your child is 30 years old! So often, when children go off to college, they leave their pets at home, and the pet sometimes becomes yours! Were you about 35 when you bought the gecko? Well, you just might be 55 before the pet dies.

FISH

  • Koi Pond Carp Fish swims among water lily in the water slowly in the parkComet Goldfish: 5-15 years
  • Clown Loaches: 15-25 years
  • Convict Cichlids: 10-18 years
  • Discus: 10-18 years
  • Oscars: 10-20 years
  • Koi: 25-35 years, and some over 50 years!

Did you buy a lovely gold koi for your pond? With the right care, it could still be swimming around long after you are gone!

OTHERhugging horse at farm

  • Cats: 13-17 years old
  • Dogs: 10-14 years depending on the breed
  • Tarantulas: 5-20 years depending on type and gender
  • Chinchillas: 15-20 years
  • Horses: 25-30 years

Looks like you might have that cute, little, fuzzy spider around for awhile!

Life Insurance and Pets

Now that you see your little buddy might be around for a very long time, it’s time to plan for their future if you are not there.

Facts You Need to Know

You cannot name your pet as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

You will need to set up a trust with a trustee and give very explicit directions on how the money is to be used. Make sure to note all current and potential expenses the pet may incur, especially possible vet bills as the pet ages. Mention the pet by name. You can even be as explicit as dictating which vet your pet goes to.

Try to have the trustee and the caregiver of your pet be two separate people.

Make sure to add one or more backup caregivers in case the first one is no longer able to care for your pet, and tell everyone your personal wishes so family members are not surprised when your insurance is disbursed.

List where you want the remaining money to go after your pet passes away. It’s best to have it go to an organization, such as an animal rescue. This is just in case the trustee turns out a little greedy and hopes your pet dies sooner than expected so they get the money.

You may have different trust options available to you depending on where you live and your specific goals. Two common options are a traditional trust or a pet trust (may not be available in your area).

Speak With a Professional

It may be best to work with an attorney who has specific experience with life insurance and pet care. There are many things to consider, and you want to make sure everything turns out exactly as you want it.

 

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This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.

Leslie Freeland

Leslie Freeland

Find her at LinkedIn
Leslie joined Asurea as the Marketing Communications Coordinator in February 2015. Since then, she has been working closely with insurance professionals to educate the public on the importance of life insurance and protect the public from common scams with informational articles.
Leslie Freeland