Does My Renters Insurance Cover My Pet?

Our furry friends provide us with love and affection, but they can also leave unwanted surprises like chewed-up slippers, scratched-up furniture and urine-damaged flooring. If you’re welcoming a puppy or kitten into your home, you might be wondering if renters insurance will protect you against damages caused by your pet. Unfortunately, you’ll need to be responsible for damage to your property caused by your pet since neither renters insurance policies nor pet insurance policies typically cover pet damage. Renters insurance is still definitely worth having, especially if you have a pet since most renters policies include liability insurance.

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      Does renters insurance cover my pet?

      Renters insurance is designed to help cover the repair or replacement of belongings damaged or stolen from your apartment. However, it does not cover all types of damages. Pest infestations, natural disaster damage and property damage from your pet are not covered. Renters insurance also doesn’t cover any health issues that occur with your pet. You’ll need pet insurance if you want coverage for illness or accidents. 

      Renters insurance does, however, provide liability coverage. If your pet causes an injury to another person while they’re on your property, you won’t be on the hook for their medical bills. Since pets can cause expensive accidents, it’s especially important to maintain a renters insurance policy if you have a pet. The average cost for a dog bite claim in 2019 was about $45,000.

      [Read More: How to Buy Cheap Renters Insurance Online]

      What does renters insurance cover?

      Most renters insurance companies provide the following coverage types:

      • Personal property damage: This helps cover the cost of repairing or replacing your belongings after theft or covered damages, such as fire and wind damage. 
      • Personal liability coverage: If you damage someone else’s property or are blamed for their injuries on your property, liability coverage helps pay for your legal costs along with your guest’s medical payments. 
      • Additional living expenses: If your home becomes uninhabitable, you may incur costs associated with securing alternative housing, such as hotel bills. Additional living expenses coverage, also known as loss of use coverage, can help pay for these items. 

      Some of the best renters insurance companies also cover extras like credit card fraud, and there are often available add-ons like earthquake coverage, but you can’t purchase pet damage coverage through your renters insurance company.

      The cost of coverage will vary depending on your coverage limits and deductible amount. If you’re looking to get the lowest rate, first determine how much renters insurance you need, and then compare rates among the cheapest renters insurance companies.

      [Read More: What Does Renters Insurance Cover?]

      Pet damage vs. pet liability

      Pet damage refers to property damage caused by an animal. This could be anything from scratches on your doors or floors to that pair of dress shoes. Pet liability coverage, on the other hand, protects you if you’re ever sued for damage your pet causes to another person or their property. So if your pet destroys your neighbor’s yard and they sue you, your legal costs may very well be covered under your renters insurance policy. And if your dog bites a visitor to your apartment, your renters insurance policy will likely cover their medical bills.

      Pet insurance vs. renters insurance

      Pet insurance covers wellness-related care for your pet and treatment for your pet’s accidents and injuries. Renters insurance covers medical or veterinary bills for injuries caused by your pet and repair or replacement of other people’s property damaged by your pet. Since there is no overlap in coverage between these two types of policies, you won’t waste any money by purchasing both. We wouldn’t encourage anyone to purchase extra insurance coverage they don’t need, but in this case, it’s in your best interest to have insurance that covers both your pet’s healthcare needs and liability coverage for you.

      [More: Health Care for Buster: All About Pet Insurance]

      Do renters insurance policies exclude certain pets?

      Because insurance companies try to avoid unnecessary risk when covering a customer, most exclude dog breeds that are known to make up a higher share of dog bite claims than others. The best example is pit bulls, which are responsible for about 23% of dog bites. The following breeds are commonly excluded from renters insurance policies:

      • Akitas
      • Alaskan Malamutes
      • Chow Chows
      • Doberman Pinschers
      • German Shepherds
      • Staffordshire Terriers
      • Great Danes
      • Pit Bulls
      • Presa Cenarios
      • Rottweilers
      • Siberian Huskies
      • Wolf Hybrids
      • American Bulldogs
      • Beaucerons
      • Keeshonds
      • Mastiffs
      • Belgian Malinois
      • Rhodesian Ridgebacks

      Different renters insurance companies may have different exclusions, so always consult with an insurance agent about your dog before signing up for a policy.

      Are exotic animals covered in renters insurance?

      Like certain dog breeds, exotic animals represent a higher risk to the insurer and are therefore excluded from most policies. If you have one of the following pets, you’ll typically need to purchase a separate exotic pet insurance policy to cover expenses should your pet injure someone or damage their property:

      • Amphibians
      • Birds
      • Ferrets
      • Monkeys
      • Rabbits
      • Reptiles
      • Snakes
      • Turtles

      Most renters insurance policies also exclude farm animals from pet liability coverage. If you have a pet or breed of dog that isn’t covered under renters insurance, we strongly recommend purchasing either a specific policy for that pet or a personal umbrella policy.

      We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

      Lindsay Frankel

      Contributing Writer

      Lindsay Frankel is a Denver-based freelance writer. She regularly contributes to several personal finance publications, including LendingTree and FinanceBuzz. When she’s not writing, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her rescue pup, playing music, or listening to audiobooks.

      Reviewed by

      • Nashalie Addarich
        Nashalie Addarich
        Editor

        Nashalie Addarich is an editor for The Simple Dollar. She recently made a career switch from the legal field, where she was an attorney in Washington, DC. In her free time, she enjoys learning new languages. You can also find her editorial work on Reviews.com.