HomeRenters InsurancePet Liability Insurance for Renters 2024 – Forbes Advisor

Pet Liability Insurance for Renters 2024 – Forbes Advisor

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Animal-related accidents, particularly dog bites, are a common occurrence nationwide. In 2022 alone, U.S. insurers saw a significant surge in payouts for dog-related injury claims, surpassing $1 billion and amounting to almost $65,000 per claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.

For pet owners, and especially dog owners, having pet liability insurance is a crucial safety net. Without pet liability insurance for renters, you risk being personally responsible for expenses related to medical bills, property damage and legal issues if you’re involved in a lawsuit about your pet.

What Is Pet Liability Insurance for Renters?

Pet liability insurance pays for expenses incurred by others for injuries or property damage that was accidentally caused by your pet. For example, if your dog jumps on a neighbor, resulting in injuries, pet liability insurance can cover their medical bills.

Like other types of liability coverage, pet liability insurance only pays other people when you are legally liable for their bills. Liability insurance doesn’t pay anything directly to you, although it may cover your legal bills in a pet-related lawsuit.

Does Renters Insurance Include Pet Liability Coverage?

Standard renters insurance policies usually include liability coverage and that coverage typically extends to pet-related accidents. Be aware, though, of potential exclusions for specific dog breeds. It’s best to check with your insurance company to verify your coverage details related to owning a dog.

If your renters insurance lacks coverage for your pet, you may be able to buy a separate pet liability policy.

Does Pet Insurance Include Pet Liability Coverage?

Pet insurance does not include liability coverage for your pet. If your pet is injured or gets sick, pet insurance can help pay the vet bills and treatment costs. Unlike liability insurance, pet insurance doesn’t pay for property damage or injuries accidentally that your pet causes to other animals or people.

Some insurance companies offer a price break on your rates if you buy both renters and pet insurance from them. For example, you can get a 10% discount on pet insurance if you bundle your renters insurance with Lemonade pet insurance.

When Does Renters Insurance Cover Your Pet?

The personal liability portion of a renters insurance policy can provide coverage (up to the specified policy limits) for your pet in three key ways:

This coverage can pay for:

  • Medical costs for others if your pet injures someone.
  • Repair expenses for property damage caused by your pet.
  • Your legal fees in case someone sues you.

What Type of Pets Are Excluded From Renters Insurance Coverage?

Some insurance companies exclude liability coverage for specific banned dog breed lists due to the perceived risk associated with their behavior. Insurers often consider larger dogs with a reputation for aggression to be riskier to insure.

Some commonly banned breeds include:

  • Akitas
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Chows
  • Doberman pinschers
  • German shepherds
  • Great danes
  • Pit bulls
  • Presa canarios
  • Rottweilers
  • Siberian huskies
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Wolf hybrids

No matter your dog’s breed, don’t be surprised if your renters insurance company excludes your dog from liability insurance if it has a history of biting or aggressive behavior.

Exotic pets are also typically excluded. Common examples include:

  • Alligators, crocodiles and caimans.
  • Bears.
  • Foxes.
  • Jackals.
  • Non-domesticated felines.
  • Primates.
  • Venomous snakes.
  • Wolves.

When Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover Your Pet?

Like other insurance policies, renters insurance has limitations, particularly concerning damage caused by a pet.

Pet Damages That Aren’t Covered by a Renters Insurance Policy

Renters insurance doesn’t cover pet damage to you, such as:

Damage to your belongings or rental: If a pet, like your cat, damages your furniture, renters insurance won’t cover the repair or replacement costs. It also won’t cover damage to the structure of your rental, like if your dog scratches up a wall.

Injuries to those in your household: While pet liability can pay for injuries caused by your dog to others, it won’t pay for any injuries to you or other household members.

Pet-Specific Coverage Limits

Pet liability coverage falls under your broader renters insurance liability limit. This limit may generally start around $100,000, but you can buy higher amounts.

If you have concerns about your pet being a potential liability, consider raising your liability limits or buying an umbrella insurance policy.

How Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Liability?

If your pet injures someone, they can make a claim against your renters insurance policy for their bills. Or they could sue you, which can also become a claim against your renters insurance policy.

If your insurer or a court determines the claim is valid, your insurer will pay them the amount owed.

If the amount owed is more than your renters insurance liability limit, you’ll be personally on the hook for the remainder.

What If Renters Liability Insurance Doesn’t Cover Your Pet?

If your renters liability insurance won’t cover your pet, consider these options:

Find a separate dog liability insurance policy: You may be able to buy dog liability coverage from another company.

Switch insurance providers: A different renters insurance company might cover your dog. Work with an independent insurance agent to compare available options.

How Do I Add a Pet to my Renters Insurance Policy?

When you apply for renters insurance, the insurer will likely ask about pets you have and the pets will be automatically included in your coverage—unless you have a dog or exotic animal that will be excluded. If you adopt a new dog after getting coverage, it’s smart to mention this to your insurance agent.

How Much Will I Pay for Renters Insurance With Pets?

The cost of renters insurance is around $14 a month, according to our analysis of renters insurance rates, and includes pets, unless a dog or exotic animal is being excluded from coverage.

How to Get for Pet Liability Insurance

If you have renters insurance:

  • Ask your renters insurance company if your pet is covered under your personal liability coverage.
  • If your pet is covered, be sure you have enough liability insurance to help pay for injuries or property damage your pet may cause to others—remember the average dog bite claim can be nearly $65,000.
  • If your pet is excluded from your renters insurance policy, consider buying a separate pet liability insurance policy.

If you don’t have renters insurance:

  • Look for renters insurance companies that include pet liability insurance in their renters insurance.
  • Be sure to confirm that your pet is not excluded from coverage by speaking with a company representative or agent.
  • You’ll want to determine how much renters insurance you need and then compare renters insurance quotes to find the best deal.
  • You can also consider buying a standalone pet liability insurance policy.

Find The Best Pet Insurance Companies Of 2024

Renters Insurance With Pets Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need pet liability insurance when renting?

While not legally required, many landlords mandate renters insurance, which typically includes liability coverage for pets under the personal liability renters insurance portion of the policy. Having pet liability insurance is a wise choice since it offers financial protection in unpredictable situations. For example, if your dog bites someone at a park, your pet liability insurance can help pay for the medical bills of the injured person.

Does an umbrella policy cover dogs?

Umbrella insurance can typically cover dogs if your liability insurance in your renters insurance falls short in a large claim. While renters insurance liability coverage limits generally start at $100,000, you can increase the limits in your renters policy. Even if you do, you may want to buy an umbrella insurance policy. If someone files a lawsuit against you due to your dog’s actions, such as a bite, your umbrella insurance can help cover the legal fees and medical costs that exceed the limits of your liability insurance.

Does renters insurance cover pet damage?

Although renters insurance covers damage a pet causes to someone else’s property, it does not cover pet damage to your belongings. For instance, if your dog chews the legs of your dining room chairs, your policy will not cover the repair costs.

Does renters insurance cover pit bulls?

Whether your renters insurance covers pit bulls depends on your specific insurance company. Some insurers have banned dog breed lists that exclude certain dog breeds such as pit bulls. Others will offer coverage unless the dog has a history of biting or aggressive behavior.

When is my pet covered under renters insurance?

If you have renters insurance, the liability portion of the policy will typically cover injuries or damage caused by your pet to others. A pet is not covered by renters insurance when there’s a specific dog or animal liability exclusion attached to the policy. Or there may be an endorsement that limits coverage for the dog. Your policy will outline this, or ask your insurance agent to explain your coverage.

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