UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020
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Renters insurance can be a blessing for pet owners, but it is important to make sure that your policy includes coverage for your particular pet or breed. Some insurance companies exclude pets, while others limit or exclude coverage for certain breeds. Pets can be challenging to include in a renters policy, but individual pet policies are available that will serve your needs.
Pets and Insurance Risks
Different types of pets carry different risks for your renters insurance. For example, an aquarium introduces a risk or water damage, dogs carry the risk of bites, and cats are notorious for scratching furniture. Cats and dogs both shed, and many types of pets have to be housebroken or confined to minimize the danger of “accidents.” Another example of a pet creating a potential risk of a claim would be window blinds, which can be easily destroyed by many different types of pets. As you can see, pets mean higher risks, and that risk must be reflected in the premiums you have to pay.
Dogs that are commonly excluded from coverage or limit coverage options are:
- German Shepard
- Pit Bull
- Wolf Hybrid
Renters Insurance and Pets
If your renter’s insurance policy does not include pets, you have the option of switching insurance companies. Look for policies that provide pet liability coverage specifically, which includes damages or injuries caused to someone outside of your immediate family. Another area where coverage should be examined closely is where damages to the dwelling or property are concerned. This falls under damage liability, and can be used to pay for damages your pet makes while you live in the dwelling.
Pets and Liability Needs
When it comes to pets, your liabilities include the danger of injuries or damages to the property of other people. Damages could be expensive, but injuries are likely to be extremely costly. Additionally, your liability obligations extend to people who come on your property for legitimate reasons, such as meter readers, your landlord, or other official visitors. If your pet causes injuries to these people, you could be liable for injuries, damages, and such things as mental trauma and suffering, as well as civil penalties.
Umbrella vs. Canine Liability
A canine liability policy probably covers your dog-related needs, but it may be more cost efficient to purchase a liability policy instead. Rather than paying the premiums on a policy that only covers your pet, an umbrella policy covers any liability claims for your home, car or other liability needs. Once any existing liability coverage is exhausted, the umbrella policy kicks in provides additional liability coverage up to the total of the policy, even when the claims are spread across types of coverage.
Typical Pet Exclusions
Some types of pets, such as dog breeds with a violent history, may be excluded from your renter’s policy. Additionally, some policies may limit the type or amount of claims the policy will honor. As an example, your policy may include property damage liability but exclude liability for bites or scratches from your pets. Finally, keep in mind that your immediate family is not covered by injury liability coverage. For them, your health insurance will be the policy that is in force.