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Does renters insurance cover pets?
Yes, renters insurance covers pets. Your insurance policy will normally include pet damages coverage as part of your personal liability coverage.
This liability coverage gives you financial protection if your pet injures someone or damages their property and you’re found legally responsible. This is true whether the incident occurs inside your home or not.
Does renters insurance cover pet damage?
As mentioned, renters insurance covers pet damage to other people’s property.
However, renters insurance doesn’t cover pet damage to your own property. That’s because the personal property coverage included in your renters insurance policy only covers certain types of damage, known as perils, and pet damage isn’t considered a covered peril. For more information on what damages you’re insured against, scroll through our guide on what perils are in renters insurance.
Example of covered pet damage
Let’s say you’re at a party and your dog chews apart the host’s exorbitantly priced chaise lounge. If they decide to take you to court, you could be found legally liable and made to pay thousands of dollars in pet damages and legal bills.
Because your renters insurance provides pet liability coverage, your insurer will pay for your legal defense and for any damages the victim is awarded.
Example of excluded pet damage
However, if you’re sitting at home and your dog chews apart your own exorbitantly priced chaise lounge, you’ll have to pay for it yourself.
Your personal property coverage won’t pay for it because pet damage isn’t a covered peril in renters insurance, and your personal liability coverage won’t pay for it because it was your own property that got damaged. Liability coverage is meant to deal with legal expenses, and it’s not like you can sue yourself.
Does renters insurance cover dog bites?
Yes, renters insurance covers dog bites. It’s one of the most common liability claims that insurers receive.
If your dog bites someone, your insurer will pay their medical bill. In the worst-case scenario that the injured party files a lawsuit against you, your insurance provider will also cover the cost of your legal expenses.
You should notify your insurer as soon as the incident occurs. Most insurers require you to file your claim within 48 to 72 hours, and if you delay, your claim could get rejected.
Some insurance companies exclude certain breeds
Unfortunately, some dog breeds, which we list further down, are often excluded from coverage in renters insurance policies.
If you own one of those breeds, you might be uninsured against pet damages. To learn which providers have breed blacklists, read our guide on renters insurance for pit bulls.
How does pet liability coverage work in renters insurance?
Pet liability coverage works the same way as the other types of personal liability coverage provided by renters insurance.
If your pet damages someone’s property or hurts them and they try to hold you liable (by taking you to court, for instance), you can file a renters insurance claim. Your insurance company will provide your legal defense and cover any damages they’re awarded.
Renters insurance usually provides pet liability coverage so that you don’t have to take out a separate animal liability insurance policy.
Animal liability coverage is sometimes limited in renters insurance
However, some renters insurance companies limit how much financial coverage they’ll provide for pet liability. For instance, your policy might provide $300,000 in liability coverage but only $25,000 in pet liability coverage.
We recommend checking your policy or speaking to your insurance provider to find out what your pet liability coverage is. If you’re a pet owner and your policy doesn’t provide enough coverage, you might need to look for a new insurer.
The cost of pet liability coverage in renters insurance
On average, the cost of a renters insurance policy is around $20 a month. Standard policies typically include $100,000 in liability coverage.
The higher the coverage, the more expensive your premium will become. On average, every additional $100,000 of coverage that you buy will increase your monthly premium by around $1.
How much pet liability coverage do I need?
To work out the amount of pet liability coverage that you need, you should estimate how much of a risk your pet poses and adjust the amount of coverage accordingly.
For example, $100,000 might be too low if you have a big dog, like a Rottweiler, but $200,000 for a small poodle might be excessive. Think realistically about how much damage your dog could do and adjust your coverage accordingly.
When doesn’t renters liability insurance cover your pet?
Renters insurance doesn’t always cover pet liability. Typically, there are three circumstances under which renters insurance won’t cover your pet:
You own an exotic pet
Exotic animals, like snakes or crocodiles, are often excluded from liability coverage. To get covered, you’ll probably have to get a separate exotic pet insurance liability policy from a specialized animal liability insurer.
You own a dog from a breed that’s often considered dangerous
Depending on your insurer, your renters insurance policy might exclude certain breeds from coverage. Many providers don’t insure dogs from breeds they consider to be aggressive, such as:
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Great Danes
- Pit bulls
- Presa Canarios
- Staffordshire Terriers
- Siberian Huskies
- Wolf hybrids
Your dog has a bite history
Some insurance providers will reject your application if your dog has a biting history. Others might be willing to issue you a policy but will increase your policy’s premium or will exclude anything your dog does from coverage.
Alternatives if your renters insurance doesn’t cover your pet
If your pet isn’t protected by your renters insurance, don’t worry. There are still two insurance options available to you:
Dog liability insurance
If your renters insurance company won’t cover your pet, it’s worth buying standalone dog liability insurance. It typically provides at least $100,000 in coverage, with the cost being determined by the breed, age, size, and weight of your dog. This means that premiums can vary wildly, ranging from $10 per month on the low end to $100 per month on the high end.
The following insurers all over dog liability insurance:
- Einhorn Insurance Agency
- Lester Kalmanson Agency, Inc.
- Evolution Insurance Brokers
- Dean Insurance Agency, Inc. (formerly called FIDO)
Even if your renters insurance policy doesn’t insure your pets, most umbrella policies provide extra liability coverage that will. An umbrella policy is a supplemental liability insurance policy that kicks in if you have liability expenses that exceed your standard liability coverage limit.
Umbrella policies typically cost between $150 to $350 per year and provide an additional $1,000,000 in general-purpose liability protection. Each additional $1,000,000 in coverage that you add will increase your yearly premium by $50–$75. To get an umbrella policy, call up your insurance company and ask if they offer one.