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Do Home Insurance Policies Cover Pet Damage?


WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero

UPDATED: JUNE 02, 2022 | 3 MIN READ

If you come home and discover your pet caused damage to your home, you might wonder if your homeowner’s insurance covers it. Learn whether it does, what effect having a pet has on your home insurance policy, and whether purchasing additional coverage helps.

Do Home Insurance Policies Cover Damage Caused By Pets?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover damage to your home caused by your pet. However, they do cover pet damage to other people’s belongings and any injuries caused by your pet.

Is your home covered for damage caused by your pets?

If your pet damages your home, your home insurance won’t cover it because your pet is considered under your control. 

Does your home insurance policy cover damage to other people’s property caused by your pet?

Yes, damage to another person’s property by your pet is covered by your home insurance policy. The liability portion of your policy pays for damage your pet causes to another’s property. It also covers any injuries caused by your pet.

Does accidental damage insurance cover damage caused by your pets?

Accidental damage is optional and additional insurance you can purchase with your home insurance policy. It covers sudden or unexpected damage to your property or its contents by an outside force. 

In some cases, it does cover accidental damage caused by pets. However, these policies often specifically exclude damage caused by chewing, tearing, scratching, vomiting, or fouling.

Home Insurance Policies and Pets

Each homeowner’s insurance policy usually comes with $100,000 of personal liability coverage. This pays for medical bills if your pet injures someone, repairs to another person’s property your pet damages, and lawsuits arising from these situations. 

Does owning a dog increase your home insurance premium?

If you own a dog breed deemed “dangerous” you might pay a higher insurance premium. In fact, most insurance companies have a Restricted Dog Breed list, and some won’t insure you if you own a dog on the list. 

The fact is, certain dog breeds are more likely to bite or are considered more aggressive. This increases the likelihood of someone filing a homeowner’s insurance claim, so insurance companies charge higher rates to compensate for the higher risk. 

Does owning a cat increase your home insurance rates?

No, owning a cat won’t increase your home insurance rates. This is because cats aren’t considered high-risk pets by insurers.

What type of pets aren’t covered by a home insurance policy?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover domesticated exotic pets. Insurance companies consider a pet exotic if:

  • You have to modify your home or outside area to contain the pet
  • The pet is found naturally within the wild
  • It is a hybrid of domestic and non-domestic animals (such as a wolf-dog hybrid)
  • A permit is necessary to own the pet

Liability Insurance For Pet Owners

If you own a pet, it is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate liability insurance to cover accidents and damage caused by it. 

How does liability coverage apply when it comes to pets?

Pet owners are considered liable when their animals injure another person or damage their belongings. Therefore, your insurance has to pay for damages your pet causes through your liability insurance policy. If you own a pet that is more likely to create such a situation, you may incur a higher insurance premium. 

Can you purchase additional liability insurance to cover pet damage?

Pet owners can add additional liability insurance coverage to protect their assets and limit out-of-pocket expenses in the event someone files a claim against their pet or sues them. Typically, additional liability coverage is a separate policy often referred to as a personal excess liability policy (PELP) or an umbrella policy.  

Canine Liability and Exotic Pet Insurance

Canine liability policies are ideal for pet owners who own dogs from the Restricted Breed list or those who don’t want their home insurance to increase if they need to file a pet-related claim. 

Exotic pet insurance is also available as a separate policy, from limited carriers. This type of policy covers exotic and wild animals people choose to keep as pets.

Pet Damage and Insurance FAQs

Does renter’s insurance cover pet damage to carpets?

Renter’s insurance does not cover any carpet damage made by a pet during the length of your lease. If your pet damages your carpet, you might lose your security deposit or have to pay out-of-pocket for the carpet replacement.

Does homeowner’s insurance cover dog bites that happen off-property?

Your homeowner insurance policy does cover liability caused by dog bites that occur when off-property. However, the insurance company may charge a higher premium once your dog has bitten someone.

Do home insurance policies cover my pet’s vet bills?

Your homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover vet bills. Pet insurance covers vet bills for your pet, but not all vet offices accept it.

Can homeowner’s insurance drop you because you own a dog?

While it is unlikely that your homeowner’s insurance company drops you for owning a dog, they might charge a higher premium for specific dog breeds. Also, there is a chance they won’t insure you if you own a dog on their Restricted Breeds list.  

What is accidental damage insurance?

Accidental damage insurance is additional and optional coverage that you can purchase with your home insurance policy. It helps to cover any unforeseen instances where your pet might damage your furniture, property, or other belongings as specified.

Filing an Insurance Claim for Pet Damage

If your pet causes damage or injures a person, notify your homeowner’s insurance company immediately. It’s important they’re aware of the situation because it could result in a claim. Keep in mind, if a claim is filed, it could cause your homeowner’s insurance premiums to increase. Be sure to compare home insurance quotes annually so you always have the best possible coverage.

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