If you have a pet or pets, you might be uncertain about whether your homeowners insurance will cover the cost of injuries or damages they could cause. The truth is that you will sometimes be covered - but at other times you will not. Continue reading to find out more.
Situations Where Your Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover Pet Damage
The typical homeowners policy will not cover any damage that was caused to your own property by your own pets. The argument used by home insurers in this case is that, just like your children, your pets live with you, so you are responsible for their actions. If your Alsation, therefore, rips apart your new lounge suite, you are not going to get very far with submitting an insurance claim. The same applies to damage to personal property. You can’t claim from your home insurance policy if your Bull Mastiff bumps your expensive laptop off the coffee table and it’s damaged beyond repair.
This principle is also used in the case of structural damage. If your dog tomorrow manages to destroy a significant part of your drywall, the insurance firm will regard it as negligence on your part - and you will have to bear the full cost.
Situations Where Homeowners Insurance Typically Does Cover Pet Damage
Someone else’s pet causing damage to your property. Although your home insurance policy will typically not cover the damage caused by your own pets to your home and/or belongings, you might be able to use it to submit a claim if your neighbor’s (or a visitor’s) pet causes damage to your property. Just keep in mind that, before you get any payment, you will be required to pay a deductible. If the damage is not significant, you might be better off paying out-of-pocket.
Another way to approach this is not to use your home insurance policy to try and recover the cost of damage to your property by someone else’s pet, but to lodge a liability claim with his or her insurance company. You could be successful with this because their liability insurance should cover them against such claims, even if they are at fault.
Your pet causing damage to someone else’s property. According to the IIS (Insurance Information Institute, the liability coverage that comes standard with the majority of homeowners policies will normally cover the cost of your pet causing damage to somebody else’s property. So if you have a pet horse and it destroys a big part of the fence between your and the neighbor, or your cat rips apart the neighbor’s brand new silk curtains, it should be possible to claim the cost of replacements or repairs from your liability coverage.
The majority of homeowners policies include liability coverage for property and bodily damages of at least $100,000. Depending on the number and types of pets you have, it might be a good idea to increase this limit.
Liability coverage can also cover the damage to somebody else’s property caused by domestic animals like cows, pigs, chickens, or goats - provided the animal is used for hobby purposes and/or kept as a pet. This proviso by implication excludes commercial farming activities. And once again, damage to your own property is not included.
Dog bites. In this regard, we have bad news and good news. The bad news is that whether your dog bites another person on somebody else’s property, your own property, or in a public place, you will be responsible for all damages - including medical bills. And now for the good news: Your homeowners insurance policy will take care of these claims irrespective of where the incident happened.
The Bottom Line
By now you probably realize that the benefits of home insurance far outweigh the costs. The risk of not having home insurance simply far outweighs the relatively modest cost involved.