Does Renter's Insurance Cover My Pets?

Published: 22nd March 2010
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This is a question that has many areas that need to be addressed. There is no simple answer here. That is such a broad question; it would be impossible to provide a simple "yes" or "no" in response. Most likely the response would be, "Well, that all depends." What do you actually want covered? The dog getting hurt? The dog breaking something? The dog biting someone? The dog chewing something? The list really is endless, so it is impossible to just give a blanket answer.

Let's start with the easy one. A renter's insurance policy is not pet insurance, so this is not a policy that covers your pet's health. This is household possession insurance, so if your pet becomes sick and needs veterinary care then you cannot expect this policy to pay out, even if the dog is injured in the house or by something in the house. At the end of the day, your dog is not a household possession and you need to have a specific pet insurance policy where you log details of your pet, his medical history and breed before a premium is set.

Secondly, damages to the property by your pet are generally specifically excluded and therefore not something you can claim. An example cited is if a cat gets accidentally shut in a room for the day and urinates on the bed, leaving the mattress so damaged you need a new one. Can you claim it under the renter's possession insurance policy? The answer again is "no." It is your pet and therefore your problem if your pet damages the house. You really need to have checked if you can keep animals at the property if you are renting as you could in fact be in breach of contract and lose your tenancy if caught.

Now, let's look at the issue of whether your renter's policy covers you if your pet bites a visitor to your house. Again, most landlords that allow pets to be kept will have written a clause into the rental agreement that specifically refers to this issue. You are signing to confirm that the landlord will have no responsibility if this issue does arise. In the past, this has been an issue and landlords have been sued for compensation which clearly isn't fair or right.

Now the responsibility rests clearly with you, and any visitor will be looking to you for compensation if any issue arises. The answer in terms of insurance is "maybe." Some insurance policies do cover this as part of their public liability side and some do not. It is common with renter's insurance that provisions are made for certain injuries. For example, if a visitor to your home tripped on a baby toy and broke their wrist, the medical bills they incurred would be covered. However, pets being a contentious issue make this a gray area. Some policies accept that any public liability is covered. Others exclude pets as they feel they are not under the same umbrella and therefore, feel that they shouldn't be covering it.

Just when you thought you were confused already, you then need to make sure that you have declared the breed of dog, as certain breeds are excluded even by insurers who would otherwise provide some liability insurance. These are the usual suspects, such as Rottweilers, Akitas, Chows and Pit Bulls; these are the most excluded breeds across all states.

This brings us nearly to the final point: the great state geographical lottery. Again, all insurance policies vary greatly across the U.S. Each state can be different so please check carefully with your insurer on all aspects of what is and isn't covered. This becomes particularly important if you move states, as you may find that you need to amend your coverage once you have moved.

Once you have checked all these things, you may be in a better position to see whether your renter's insurance covers your pet in the way you want. If you want pet insurance, get pet insurance; it will be your best bet. Pet policies are fully designed to accommodate all the issues that may or may not arise from keeping pets. Most of them have some form of public compensation built in should your pet attack or injure someone, whether they are inside your home or outside on the streets.For consumers looking for insurance online and where to get the best insurance quote possible, look no further than Whether it is auto insurance, home insurance, health insurance, life insurance, cancer insurance, disability insurance, business insurance or burial insurance, 2insure4less has helped countless consumers find insurance online.

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