Moving into a rental property means you will have to take responsibility for the property of someone else. Landlords expect you to be a good tenant. That means preventing damage whenever possible. Still, when you bring a pet into the space, you bring a big liability with you. It doesn't matter how well-behaved your cat or dog is, they might cause damage to any number of property items. The question is, can your renters insurance help you with the damage costs?
Understanding Pet Liabilities
Regardless of how docile or domesticated, your pet still is an animal. Instinctual actions by pets could easily cause harm to you, your property and to other people.
- Natural habits, such as those your dog might have to jump while chasing animals, might cause damage to the rental home itself. For example, your pet might accidentally break a window or tear up a wall fixture, simply because it doesn't realize the consequences of its actions.
- Your pet is a curious creature. It might one day get into your closet and tear up your own belongings, simply by trying to play with them.
- Curiosity might play a part when the pet accidentally damages someone else's belongings.
- If a friend comes to visit, their actions might spook the pet, just because they aren't familiar with each other. The pet might bite them, hurting them unintentionally.
Still, even though your pet probably doesn't realize that chewing on carpet or scratching at walls is a bad thing, it still shouldn't happen. So, in these cases, what can you do about it?
Any damage your pet might cause is a cost risk, either to you or to those whose property suffered due to the incident. In certain cases, your renters insurance coverage might be able to help you pay. However, policies will have their limitations, so it is up to you to determine when you do and don't have coverage.
Tell Your Landlord And Your Insurer That You Have A Pet
The biggest mistake a tenant can make is to not disclose to their landlord or their renters insurance provider that they have a pet.
- Landlords frequently require you to list any pets on your lease. If you fail to disclose that you have a pet, you might even face eviction if your secret is discovered.
- Renters insurance providers will likely also ask if you have a pet in the home. This will help them measure how much of a property value and liability risk you pose them.
Having a pet is a risk to the insurer because the pet might harm someone else. Therefore, the insurer might have to pay for the damage the pet causes. They'll want to prepare for this potential occurrence. By failing to disclose the pet's presence, you will receive no assistance from your policy should a problem occur with the pet.
Damage to the Rental Property
What happens if your pet tears up a portion of the rental home? They might rip the carpet, or accidentally jump on the oven door, breaking it. Who pays?
Usually, it's you. Often, your renters insurance won't pay for this damage; by bringing the pet into the home, you brought a known risk onto the property. The bottom line is, it's up to you to carefully watch your pet as best you can, and discourage potentially-damaging behavior.
Still, don't worry about outstanding costs for these losses. Most pet damage might only require a simple maintenance visit, which your landlord may offer because your rent and your security deposit often help cover such costs.
Damage To The Property Of Others
Say that one day, your pet chases a neighbor's cat through an open garage door. Before anyone can get the dog under control, it breaks several items, tears up the neighbor's couch and causes a flat screen TV to fall off the wall, shattering it.
In these cases, you might be at-fault for the pet's actions. You should have done more to try to control its actions. Therefore, the neighbor might have a right to file against your property damage liability insurance to receive compensation for the pet's actions. If you have listed the pet on the policy, it will often apply to cost obligations.
Bites Or Injuries To Others
You never know when your pet might accidentally bite someone, either out of fear or while trying to play. If your renters insurance includes bodily injury liability insurance, it might be able to pay for this person's medical costs, if necessary. Keep in mind, you might need a pet bite liability clause included in the policy to gain coverage.
Ask Your Agent About Exclusions
In these and other pet risk situations, you'll need to ask your BluCanopy agent to clarify exactly when your policy will apply. Policies that cover pet liabilities will still likely include limitations. For example, certain breeds might be excluded from coverage because they are considered too aggressive by insurers.
Therefore, when enrolling in your coverage, tell us all about your best friend. We are happy to help you get additional coverage for all your pet needs.