Does Insurance Cover Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals?

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  • Does Insurance Cover Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals?

Although your emotional support animal may run into problems in public areas, private places can present just as many challenges. One private place that seems to cause the most trouble is your home. Whether it’s an apartment, condo or house, strict animal regulations are put in place by landlords, housing providers and insurance companies to ensure the risk of damages and extra liability concerns are reduced.

Some of the most notable pet restrictions ingrained in the world of home leasing are weight limits and excluded dog breeds. Some landlords even cut the risk entirely by disallowing pets altogether.

Does Insurance Cover Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals?

Yes, service dogs and emotional support animals receive the same coverage as any other pet under every home insurance policy, including homeowners, renters and condo insurance. If they injure or bite someone, your insurer will pay up to your policy’s liability coverage maximum for medical bills and lawsuits that arise from the injury.

However, service dogs and emotional support animals are treated fairly and regularly under your insurer’s standards. So they’ll receive the same coverage stipulations as any other pet and could increase your premiums because they deem to be a greater risk to file an insurance claim.

Can a Landlord or Apartment Deny an Emotional Support Animal?

Although many landlords and housing providers must provide reasonable accommodation for assistance animals, some exceptions to the law could allow them to deny your emotional support animal or service animal.

Private owners who don’t use real estate brokers and don’t own more than three single-family homes, as well as landlords who own, rent out and live in the same building with four or fewer units are excluded from the Federal Housing Act law. In addition, reasonable accommodation that constitutes an undue burden or fundamental alteration of a property are excluded from the law as well.

If your landlord doesn’t fall under one of those categories and your assistance animal doesn’t exceed a reasonable accommodation request, you cannot legally be denied housing due to your assistance animal.

Fair Housing Act Emotional Support Animal Guidelines

Fortunately for owners of emotional support animals and service animals, the Fair Housing Act provides you and your animal additional rights against restrictions. It’s a federal law that protects tenants with service animals from being denied reasonable housing accommodations.

Under the Fair Housing Act emotional support animal and service animal law, a person must have a physical or mental impairment that significantly hinders major life activities to classify their animal in the assistance category. They also must be able to provide documentation from a doctor or psychiatrist to support their claim.

Assistance animals are often referred to as service animals or emotional support animals. They’re trained to complete tasks for their owner, such as guiding the blind or providing a heightened sense of hearing, or to help with coping and quality-of-life improvement, such as alleviating depression and anxiety or reducing stress-induced pain. Since assistance animals are not classified by law as pets, breed and weight restrictions don’t apply.

What to Do If a Landlord Denies My Assistance Animal

If the housing property falls under a protected category and you show the landlord or housing provider proper documentation, you should have no problems signing a lease. However, there are a few key players you can contact if you run into trouble.

You can file a complaint against the housing provider by contacting the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If that doesn’t work, contact a lawyer and have them write a letter to your landlord advising them to allow your assistance animal. The final step you can take is contacting an Emotional Support Animal Rights activist to see if there are any immediate steps they can help you with.

Getting Home Insurance for Service or Emotional Support Animals

Although assistance animals are not considered a pet under emotional support animal housing laws, insurance companies still treat dog bites and damage caused by animals the same way. Home insurance with a good deal of liability coverage is still recommended.

With Clovered’s online quoting tool, getting a home insurance quote is easy. Whether you’re in the market for homeowners, renters, landlord or condo insurance, all you need is a few details about your home and a few minutes of your time. We’ll run the data on our end and provide you with an affordable quote in minutes.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.