Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

Quick Answer

While renters insurance generally covers injuries or property damage your pet causes to another person, it typically doesn’t cover any pet damage to your or your property.

A golden retriever dog playing with toilet paper in living room and a broken plant.

Renters insurance protects your personal belongings in a rental property in the event of a theft, fire or other covered events. This type of insurance can pay for your lost or damaged possessions and may even protect you from liability if someone is hurt on your property.

But does renters insurance cover your pets? Renters insurance typically provides liability protection for harm your pet causes to another person or their property. However, damage your pet causes to you or your property is generally not covered. Here's what renters insurance covers and how to get coverage for your pets.

What Does Renters Insurance Typically Cover?

Renters insurance protects your personal possessions, covers you if you're liable for damages or injuries, and helps with living costs if you can't stay in your rental due to a covered event. Renters insurance typically consists of three types of coverage.

  • Property damage: Renters insurance may protect your belongings from damage or loss. For example, if a fire in your building damages your furniture, you may be compensated for the financial loss. However, any damage to your home caused by your pet typically isn't covered. For example, if your puppy decides to chew on your baseboards or your cat tears up your carpet, you'll have to fix it yourself or cover the costs out of pocket.
  • Personal liability: This component of your renters insurance may protect you from liability from injuries caused by you or someone in your household, including your furry snuggle buddy. Personal liability coverage in renters insurance policies often exceeds $100,000, but double check your policy to be sure you're adequately covered. Keep in mind, the average cost of a dog bite claim ranges from $50,000 to $65,000, while more severe injuries could surpass $100,000 in medical and legal expenses.
  • Additional living expenses: Renters insurance can also help you pay for any costs you incur if you're displaced from your rental property after a fire, flood or another covered event. For example, if a building pipe bursts and floods your unit, this coverage could pay for housing, food and other displacement-related costs.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Damage Pets Cause?

Generally, renters insurance doesn't cover any damage your pet causes to your rental property, such as stained carpet or torn window screens. However, the policy may cover damage stemming from covered perils, including fire, smoke and water damage.

As such, your renters insurance likely won't cover the damaged wooden flooring your puppy scratched. You'd be on the hook for fixing it or paying for the repairs yourself. However, the policy may cover a peril caused by your pet. For example, if your cat chews on electrical wires and starts a fire, your renters insurance may cover the damage. Still, it's a good idea to contact your agent or refer to your policy to verify the specific coverage your policy offers.

Supplemental Insurance to Fill in Coverage Gaps

If your renters insurance doesn't cover pets, consider switching to a provider who does. Alternatively, you can take out a personal umbrella policy or pet liability insurance to fill the gaps in your coverage.

Umbrella insurance policies may have coverage amounts of $1 million or more. Typically, you must already have a renters or auto policy with a provider before purchasing an umbrella policy. Check to see if having multiple policies qualifies you for a discount for bundling them.

Pet liability insurance is a policy that covers injuries and property damage caused by your pet. For example, if your dog bites someone or accidentally knocks them over, this policy may cover their medical expenses and your legal fees if they take you to court. As you might imagine, the cost of pet liability insurance varies widely—ranging from $10 to $83 per month. Premium amounts are often based on your coverage options, deductible amount, pet breed and other factors. Before proceeding, make sure the coverage amount is adequate to cover a serious incident.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Harm Caused to Pets?

Renters insurance generally doesn't cover a death or injury to a furry family member that occurs in your home. Rather, this type of insurance is typically designed to cover damage or injury your pet may cause to others or their property.

If you're looking for more comprehensive protection for your pet, consider getting a pet insurance policy. Pet insurance is similar to health insurance for humans in that it covers a portion of your pet's medical bills due to illnesses, accidents and injuries.

This type of insurance can be a relatively inexpensive option to lower the costs to get your pet the care it deserves. Monthly payments for accident-only pet insurance average about $10.18 for cats and $16.70 for dogs, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Accident and illness coverage runs a bit higher with monthly premiums of $32.25 for cats and $53.34 for dogs.

The Bottom Line

Renters insurance may protect your belongings if they are damaged in an incident in your home. It may also cover another person's injuries or property damage caused by your pet. However, renters insurance typically doesn't cover any property damage your pet causes to your own home. If you would like the additional coverage, talk to your insurance agent to review your options, including an umbrella policy or a standalone pet liability insurance policy.

Shop and compare different insurance providers, policy options and available discounts to save on renters insurance. If you live in a state where insurers can check your credit, maintaining a good credit score may help to reduce your insurance premiums. Some of the best ways to improve your credit score include paying your bills on time, reducing your debt and minimizing your credit utilization. Also consider signing up for Experian Boost®ø to potentially improve your credit score by adding credit for on-time payments for utilities, streaming services and even rent to your Experian credit report.