Dogs make wonderful pets for many people and can bring joy and happiness. However, owning a dog means understanding that these loveable furry friends can cause damage to your rented home or apartment by tearing up flooring, doors, or walls.
In some cases, being a dog owner also means knowing that your dog may unexpectedly cause injury to someone visiting your home. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs yearly, with $888.9 million in liability claims paid by homeowners’ and renters’ insurance in 2021.
As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to know if your renters’ insurance policy covers your pet and, if so, how much the policy pays for in medical expenses or pet damage. Explore what renters’ insurance does and doesn’t cover for dog-related damages to understand your policy better.
What Is Covered By Renter’s Insurance?
The main benefit of taking out a renter’s insurance policy is that it covers personal losses after an accident or emergency. A standard renter’s insurance policy covers damages such as:
Personal items include clothing, furniture, electronics, or other contents kept on the premises. For instance, your renters’ insurance may cover the replacement of your computer or clothes if they are damaged or destroyed in a fire or water leak.
Loss of Use
If the property you are renting is damaged and you can no longer live there, renter’s insurance provides reimbursement to help you cover alternative living arrangements.
If you are injured in an accident on the rental property, renter’s insurance covers your medical bills and recovery expenses up to the policy limits. It also helps you pay for medical charges or funeral arrangements for someone injured or killed while visiting your rental.
Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Dogs Specifically?
Yes, most renters’ insurance companies offer pet coverage for renters. However, all policies differ in dog-related coverage depending on the insurer and specifics about your pet. There is also a difference between coverage for damage caused by your dog to your property and liability for dog bites done to visitors.
Personal Property Damage
Your renters’ insurance likely won’t cover damage your pup does to your belongings. For example, if you get a new puppy and he shreds your couch cushions, you can’t file a claim for reimbursement. Renters’ insurance only covers damages to your belongings caused by perils, such as explosions, fires, or wind.
Additionally, your renters’ insurance won’t cover damages your pet does to the apartment or rented home. You may have to pay your landlord for out-of-pocket damages if your dog tears up or scratches the carpet, flooring, cabinets, doors, or blinds.
Pet Liability Coverage
The III says most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance covers dog bite-related costs up to the policy’s liability limit. In many cases, this limit is between $100,000 and $300,000.
For instance, if your dog bites someone visiting your apartment, your renters’ insurance may cover up to your liability limit in medical bills and legal expenses related to the case. However, if you incur costs beyond the liability limit on your policy, you will likely be responsible for paying them out-of-pocket.
While many renters’ insurance policies cover dog bites, several exceptions apply that you may need to understand. These include:
- Dog breeds. Some insurers refuse to cover certain dog breeds, such as rottweilers or pit bulls, no matter the dog’s history or temperament.
- Visitors only. Many policies only cover dog bites to visitors, not those who reside in your rental home.
- Case-by-case decisions. Some insurers reserve the right to decide on coverage on a case-by-case basis, making it difficult to know if you have coverage if an incident occurs.
- History of aggression. If your dog has a history of aggression, you may be unable to obtain coverage or pay a higher premium.
- Liability waivers. Your insurer may ask you to sign a waiver for dog bites, eliminating or reducing your renters’ insurance dog bite coverage.
- Additional requirements. You may have coverage for dog bites, but only if you meet requirements such as taking your dog to behavior classes or keeping them restrained when people visit the premises.
Understanding the specifics of your renters’ insurance policy is vital to knowing what coverages you have for your pet.
How to Add Pet Insurance to Your Renter’s Insurance Policy
Adding your dog to your renters’ insurance can offer you coverage if a dog bite occurs. If you own a pet, discuss possible coverages with your insurer and how to add your dog to the policy.
When obtaining standard renter’s insurance, the insurer typically asks you to provide details of any pets or animals you legally own or keep at the property. If you are signing up for a new policy, you can include your pet’s information on the application to have it covered. If you adopt a pet later, add it to your policy by calling your insurance agent and requesting a policy amendment.
Since pets increase liability risk for insurance companies, adding them to your policy will likely increase the cost. The added cost varies depending on your pet’s breed, size, location, and policy limits.
Find the Right Insurance Provider with Finance is us
When choosing a renter’s insurance plan, it’s crucial to ensure it provides you with the coverage you need. If you have pets, add them to your policy to avoid incurring costly damages if an incident occurs. Insurance companies offer different levels of coverage with specific terms and exceptions. Purchasing the wrong policy could leave you to foot the bill if your pet causes damage or an injury.
At Finance is us, we make it easier to understand complicated insurance situations, like adding pets to your renter’s policy or deciding on life insurance for your pet. Our informational content can guide you toward better financial decision-making, helping you secure the coverage you need at an appropriate price.
Disclaimer: All content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular entity or individual, nor is the information a substitute for professional financial advice and services.