Does Renters Insurance Cover Dogs?

by Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent
Pawlicy Advisor
Pet Insurance Blog
Does Renters Insurance Cover Dogs?
Are dogs covered under renters insurance? In some cases, yes, but not always. Here’s how you can reduce your financial risk.

As much as we may believe that pets are people, they’re viewed as property in the eyes of the law. That means dogs are covered under renters insurance, which protects both personal property and personal liability.

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However, renters insurance only offers financial protection for some, not all, dog-related costs. It’s important for tenants with pets to learn the exact terms and conditions of their insurance policy, so they can financially prepare for the possible cost implications of their dog’s poor health or behavior.

If you lease a house or apartment and are wondering whether renters insurance covers dogs, here’s everything you need to know:

Does renters insurance cover dog bites?

Yes, third-party dog bites are covered under renters insurance; most renters insurance policies include liability coverage for damages caused by the policyholder’s personal property (including physical damage induced by their pet dog).

If a person sustains an injury from your dog and requires stitches, reconstructive surgery, or any other type of medical attention, your renters insurance company will cover the individual’s medical bills (up to the policy’s liability limit). Renters pet insurance also covers legal fees if the injured person decides to sue.

This applies to family members, friends, neighbors, service technicians, and any other guest inside your rental home or apartment. However, renters insurance does not cover any injuries sustained to you personally.

It should also be noted that not all dogs are covered by renters insurance; policy exclusions or restrictions may apply that could impact your financial liability.

For instance, many insurance companies consider certain breeds aggressive or dangerous (such as Dobermans, Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers) are exclude them from the policy’s coverage due to the higher risk of liability. Unneutered males and dogs with a history of attack may also be excluded from this type of dog insurance protection.

Does renters insurance cover dog fights off the property?

Yes, renters liability protection extends to incidents off the property. If your dog attacks another dog (or cat), the renters insurance policy will cover that pet’s veterinary care (since they’re considered someone’s personal property). Conversely, if your pet is attacked at a dog park or another public location, the owner’s renters insurance company would be responsible for your pet’s medical expenses.

However, renters insurance is not a legal requirement. There’s no guarantee they will have liability coverage, and they might not offer to pay or afford to cover the cost out of their own pocket. Unless you are enrolled in a pet health insurance plan, you’d have to pay for all of your dog’s veterinary bills yourself.

Does renters insurance cover dog damage?

Generally, no, because dog damage is not considered a “covered peril”. In renters insurance, a “covered peril”, as insurance companies call the various causes of damage, are specifically named (or not excluded) events the insurer agrees to reimburse you for if you make a claim.

Personal property damage (for instance, if your pet chews up your couch, knocks over your TV, etc.) will not be covered. However, if your dog chewed up someone else’s couch, it might be covered under the liability umbrella policy. Similarly, any damage your dog makes to the rental property (such as gnawing at a door frame or breaking a window screen) will not be covered by renters insurance.

dog urine stain indoors

Does renters insurance cover dog pee?

No, if your dog has an accident indoors, the damage is typically not covered by renters insurance. Some renters and homeowners insurance policies include coverage for accidental damage, but this usually excludes damage caused by pets, such as urine stains, tearing, chewing, scratching, and fouling. Landlords collect security deposits from tenants to cover expenses like stained carpets.

However, if your dog peed on someone else’s laptop, for example, the cost to replace it might be covered under liability coverage.

Does renters insurance cover dogs’ injuries or illnesses?

No, injuries and, in some cases, illnesses are covered under pet health insurance.

  • Accident-Only policies cover unexpected emergency accidents and injuries, such as lacerations, bite wounds, insect stings and bites, snake bites, swallowed foreign objects, broken bones, etc.
  • Accident & Illness policies offer comprehensive coverage that reimburses unexpected incidents and illnesses, including cancer treatments, chronic conditions, diagnostics, emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, etc.

When comparing insurance companies, be sure to look into the details of comparable policies and read the fine print. Some insurance companies such as Progressive and Liberty Mutual offer both pet insurance and renters insurance policies, so you might have a possibility of bundling these two types of insurance and getting a discount.

Buying the right dog insurance is not easy. While pet owners do have a plethora of options, deciding the right kind of pet insurance plan and the amount of coverage you need can be quite confusing.

If you're looking for a pet insurance policy, consider using Pawlicy Advisor. Our tool helps you compare pet insurance plans from top US providers to find the best option for your family. We also provide personalized recommendations based on your pet's unique information, empowering you to buy a pet insurance policy with confidence.

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Key Takeaways

  • Dogs are covered under renters insurance, but it only pays for some dog-related costs, such as dog bites to guests inside your rental home and damage to someone else’s property. It also extends to incidents off the property.
  • On the other hand, renters insurance doesn’t cover dog damage, dog pee, and dogs’ illnesses or injuries.
  • Pet health insurance plans cover unexpected accidents, illnesses, tests/diagnostics, medications, surgery, emergency care, and exam fees. You can use Pawlicy Advisor’s free online tool to compare insurance plans by top pet insurance providers and find the best option for your pet.

Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor

About the author

Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent

Customer Support - Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.

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