If you rent a home or apartment, renters insurance can protect your personal property from damage due to covered events. Depending on your coverage, it may also provide liability and medical payment protection. Not only does renters insurance protect your finances after a covered event, but your landlord may also require it for tenants.
Renters insurance can be essential for individuals with pets because pets add liability. For instance, the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs yearly. You might not think your dog would ever do this, but renters insurance can offer valuable protection if the unexpected occurs. Here’s how pets are covered under your renters insurance policy.
In this guide:
- Pet coverage under renters insurance
- What pets are excluded from renters insurance?
- How do pets affect the cost of renters insurance?
- Renters insurance alternatives for pet liability
- What is the best renters insurance company for pet owners?
Pet coverage under renters insurance
|Is it covered under renters insurance?||Are endorsements or additional coverages available?|
|Liability for pets (e.g., dog bites or cat scratches)||Sometimes||Yes|
|Pet injury or illness||No||Yes|
Does renters insurance cover liability for pets?
Bodily injury liability is a coverage option with your renters insurance policy. This coverage often extends to your pets and may protect you if your dog bites someone while you’re at the park. It could pay your legal expenses if you’re sued after the bite or cover the injured person’s medical bills.
But there are limits to what your liability insurance will cover. For instance, if your dog bites you in your apartment, your renters policy is unlikely to pay for your treatment. Instead, your health insurance should kick in.
Insurance companies may have further limitations for certain dog breeds or animals with a history of biting. If you’re applying for a new policy, be sure to discuss the specifics with your insurer. You may need to purchase an umbrella or specialized pet liability policy if your renters insurance liability coverage doesn’t extend to your pet.
Does renters insurance cover pet damage?
Besides bodily injury liability coverage, your property damage liability insurance may also cover certain damages your pet causes to other people’s property. For instance, if your dog gets loose and digs up your neighbor’s meticulously planted flower beds, your renters insurance might pay to replace the plants.
But again, there are limits to be aware of. If your cat or dog tears up your new couch or eats a pair of your expensive shoes, your insurance will likely not cover a replacement. It may not cover you if your pet eats the wall-to-wall carpet in your apartment, either.
Does renters insurance cover injury or illness to pets?
A typical renters insurance policy won’t cover illness or injury to pets, but other policies may. For instance, you could purchase pet insurance if your dog or cat is eligible for this coverage. Many insurers won’t offer policies to pets with pre-existing conditions.
Pet insurance can cover annual vaccinations for your dog or cat, preventive vet visits, or unexpected trips to the emergency vet. Certain visits or incidents may be fully covered, while others may be partially covered or not covered at all. Your coverage will depend on the company and policy you select.
What pets are excluded from renters insurance?
Exclusions and restrictions can vary by insurance company, but in general, your renters insurance might not extend to your pet if they have a bite history.
Size or breed restrictions can apply, but not always. Certain insurers, such as State Farm, don’t ask about dog breeds when you apply for renters insurance. Certain states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, prohibit insurers from denying renters a policy based on their dog’s breed. But many states don’t have these laws in place.
It’s essential to review your state laws and ask potential insurers about pet exclusions or coverage limitations. Here’s a look at breeds renters insurance may not cover:
- Alaskan malamutes
- Doberman pinschers
- Pit bulls
- American bulldogs
- German shepherds
- Rhodesian ridgebacks
- Certain mixed-breed dogs
Exclusions or limitations for exotic pets, such as reptiles or amphibians, may also exist.
How do pets affect the cost of renters insurance?
Getting a new pet (or pets) could increase your renters insurance premiums. Your new furry family member may present an additional liability in the eyes of your insurer. But changes to your coverage costs will depend on your insurance company and how your policy is structured.
Renters insurance alternatives for pet liability
If your renters insurance liability coverage doesn’t cover your pet due to a bite history or breed restriction, you may need to seek other coverage to ensure you’re financially protected. Specialty pet liability policies are available through certain insurers, or you may be able to get umbrella coverage through your insurance company.
As an alternative, you could consider a renters insurance policy from a different insurance company without specific breed restrictions.
What is the best renters insurance company for pet owners?
There’s no one best renters insurance company for pet owners. Like anything else, it’s essential to compare coverage from different providers. If you’re shopping for a new policy, check out our best renters insurance piece to find out more about top companies.
As you compare coverage, consider possible restrictions, whether policies are available in your state, coverage amounts, and insurance rates and premiums. Comparison shopping will help you find a renters insurance policy that best meets your needs.
Do I need to tell my renters insurance company if I have pets?
If you plan to get a pet, looping in your renters insurance company is wise. Disclosing this information will help ensure that you have adequate coverage. It will also help you avoid the unfortunate scenario of your insurer denying claims related to your cat or dog.
Do any renters insurance companies not have dog breed restrictions?
Yes, particular renters insurance companies don’t have dog breed restrictions. For instance, State Farm asks whether you have a dog, not which breed you own. Other insurers, such as Nationwide or Progressive, may provide coverage even if you own a large-breed or potentially high-risk dog. But this coverage may come with a higher price tag.
What happens to my renters insurance rates if my pet bites someone?
If your pet bites someone and you need to file a claim, your renters insurance rates may increase. Your insurance company could even drop you, depending on where you live and whether this is the first time your dog has bitten somebody.