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Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

By Jarrod Heil

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Many people seek renters insurance so they won’t be on the hook for the landlord’s property if their pet damages it, or because their landlord wants them to have it in case of damage. Either way, many renters are barking up the wrong tree if they believe renters insurance covers pet damage.

We’re sorry to be the ones to break the bad news to you, but renters insurance doesn’t work like that. While it may cover dog bites, you’ll be on the hook to pay for any pet damage sustained to you or your landlord’s property.

That’s why some landlords disallow dogs in their rental properties altogether (you can beg, plead or follow these steps to convince your landlord to allow your furry friend to move in). But, as we said earlier, some pet damage is covered.

Let’s break down the specifics of your renters insurance policy. (And if you don’t have renters insurance, you can get a policy here in less than five minutes!)

Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

Yes and no. Renters insurance doesn’t cover any pet damage to property, including yours or your landlord’s. However, it does cover pet damage to people in the form of dog bites, which are one of the most costly renters insurance claims filed.

Damage to Property

Unfortunately, if the damage to you or your landlord’s property was caused by your pet, your renters insurance won’t cover it. It also won’t cover damage to other people’s property. You’ll be liable to pay for the damage yourself. But that’s why many landlords require a pet security deposit, which is typically nonrefundable and goes toward any damage your pet causes to the landlord’s property.

However, damage to you or your landlord’s property caused by someone else’s pet may be covered if they’re a homeowner and maintain a homeowners insurance policy. If they’re renting like you, someone will be responsible for footing the bills themselves.

Dog Bite Damage

For those seeking renters insurance with a dog, you may be happy to learn that dog bites are typically covered by renters insurance — as long as you’ve notified your company about your breed and they’ve agreed to take them on.

Dog bites would be covered under the liability portion of your renters insurance, which helps to pay for medical bills and legal expenses for injuries and mishaps you’re found liable for. One of those mishaps and injuries is a dog bite.

If your dog bites another person, whether it’s on your property or not, you’re liable to pay for their care. If you have renters insurance, it may cover up to your policy’s maximum, which is typically $100,000 per incident on a standard renters insurance policy. If you don’t have renters insurance, you could be stuck paying the bill yourself.

Let’s break down an imaginary — but very real — scenario.

Let’s say your dog, Chewster, is a super friendly dog, but one day bites an unsuspecting person. Chewster got them good, so they go to the hospital for stitches and to have super minor surgery performed. But it doesn’t stop there. They want to make you feel their wrath (because they’re not a fan of dogs or something) and they sue you.

The medical expenses, legal fees and settlement costs quickly add up to $125,000. If you have renters insurance, it would kick in top pay up to your policy’s maximum. So if your policy’s maximum was $100,000 per incident, you’d still be responsible to pay $25,000 out of your own pocket. That’s why dog owners are recommended to have at least $500,000 in liability coverage.

Now let’s say you don’t have renters insurance. You’d be stuck paying the $125,000 out of your own pocket. I don’t know about you, but I can think of 1 million different things I’d rather spend that money on. Dog bites are just one of the reasons having adequate renters insurance is a necessity.

Renters Insurance That Covers Pet Damage

So as we discussed a bit earlier in the article, some renters insurance covers pet damage in the form of dog bites. But renters insurance policies don’t cover pet damage to property. If you’re searching for renters insurance with pet protection, you’ll need to look for a policy that has adequate liability coverage to cover bites.

Pet Liability Insurance for Renters

Some insurance companies refuse to provide coverage for certain dog breeds, while other companies refuse to provide liability coverage for pets in general. When you’re looking for renters insurance that covers pet damage, you’ll need to notify your agent of the kind of dog you have. Failure to notify them could result in being dropped from your policy or non-payment of claims.

Get a Quote Compare multiple policies to get the coverage you need at the price you want.

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