Home > Renters Insurance > Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

Updated Jan 6, 2023

Updated Jan 6, 2023

Home > Renters Insurance > Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

According to The Humane Society, 72% of renters have pets. However, it can still be challenging for these pet parents to find rental housing that allows them to have their furry friends with them. 

Part of the reason landlords don’t allow pets to live on their properties is because of the amount of damage pets can cause. The landlords that allow pets often require their tenants to have renters insurance, which covers certain pet damages.

Renters Insurance vs. Pet Insurance

dog with a woman shopping for pet insurance
Image Source: Canva

Pet owners should consider purchasing a pet health insurance plan and a renters insurance policy with pet liability coverage. Each policy has different coverage for specific situations. 

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is health insurance for pets that helps with expensive medical expenses. Pet insurance coverage options vary, but your pet can be covered for medical costs related to illnesses, chronic conditions, injuries, wellness care, and even accidents they may have, such as broken bones or accidental poisonings. 

A landlord won’t require pet insurance because it’s related to your pet’s health care, not the property or injuries that occur on it. However, it can help you with medical bills if your pet is hurt or sick. 

Renters Insurance

Renters insurance typically has two pet-related coverage types: personal liability insurance and personal property coverage. 

Personal liability coverage protects your finances when your pet causes third-party damage or injuries. Under this policy, liability claims would be if your dog or cat, which are considered property by insurance companies, scratches or harms a visitor. 

For example, renters insurance would usually cover a dog bite to somebody outside your household if the individual had racked up medical bills to treat the bite. An example of personal property coverage would be if a pet damaged a guest’s personal belongings, such as if it chewed up or had an accident on a guest’s laptop. 

Most renters insurance policies cover around $100,00 in personal liability. After you exceed your policy limit, you’ll need to pay the rest out of pocket. 

In short, homeowners insurance or renters insurance will protect you in the case of dog bites or other injuries or damages caused to guests in your home by your pet. In contrast, pet insurance only covers your pet’s health care. 

Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Yes, renters insurance typically covers dog bites as long as the dog is on the policy and eligible for coverage and bites somebody outside your household. Depending on the policy, your insurance provider may also cover legal fees related to the dog bite if you were sued. 

The average dog bite incident cost per claim in 2021 was nearly $50,000, so if you have multiple animals or a particularly aggressive pet, consider adding additional coverage in this category. 

The incident average cost per dog bite claim can easily exceed $50,000 depending on how severe the bite is or how much damage your pet can inflict. For example, a larger dog like a German shepherd would likely cause more medical expenses than a small dog breed like a pug. 

Even if your pets are calm and well-behaved, dog owners should have personal liability coverage because you never know when an incident may occur. 

What Isn’t Covered by Renters Insurance?

Regarding pets, there are a few pet damages that renters insurance policies won’t cover

  • Injuries to anyone living in your rental. If you, your family, or your roommates are bitten or harmed by your pet, the insurer will not cover these injuries and medical expenses. However, most policies will cover houseguests. 
  • Damage to your property and personal belongings. Renters insurance covers damage your pet does to a guest’s belongings. However, it won’t cover pet damage to your belongings or personal property damage. For example, if your cat scratches up your couch or your dog chews up your bed, this won’t be covered under your liability policy. This exclusion also extends to damage caused to the rental unit, such as if your cat destroys your window blinds. However, your landlord’s policy will typically cover these damages. 
  • Certain dog breeds and exotic pets are excluded from renters insurance. If you have a restricted breed or animal, you may be unable to get a policy at all, or the insurer may drastically reduce the liability coverage limits. 

Does Renters Insurance Cover All Pets?

man with his pet pit bull
Image Source: Canva

No, you’ll find that renters insurance providers typically only cover dogs and cats. Exclusions are usually in place for exotic pets, such as birds, ferrets, or reptiles. 

Commonly restricted dog breeds may also be excluded from renters insurance coverage: 

  • Pit bulls
  • Chow chows
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Mastiffs
  • Belgian Malinois 
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Wolf-dogs
  • Siberian huskies
  • Rottweilers
  • Rhodesian ridgebacks

When signing up for renters insurance, verify with an insurance agent that specific pet liability insurance covers your dog or cat’s breed. A pet owner should always tell the insurance company about any pets living on the premises, even if a pet isn’t covered, so the insurer can adjust the policy accordingly. 

Is Renters Insurance Worth It?

While not legally required by the government, your landlord is within their rights to require you to have a renters insurance policy. Renters insurance is an investment, but it can save you a lot of money in the case of covered items like water damage or dog bites. However, you should remember that certain things, like flood insurance claims or pet damage to you or your belongings, won’t be covered. 

For many renters, insurance is an additional living expense that is worthwhile. According to Nationwide, the average cost of renters insurance is only $15 to $20 per month, making it a practical and affordable option for many renters. We recommend shopping around and gathering free quotes from renter insurance companies to get the best deal for your location, rental size, pets, and much more. 

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