Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Damage by Pets?
You’ve come home from a rough day at work – and you see a trail of what looks to be pieces of your carpet. You walk a little further into the house and see that Biscuit has managed to shred a good chunk of your carpet, and even started chewing through the drywall. Now what?
A common question to ask is, “Does my homeowner’s insurance policy cover damage caused by my pet?” And unfortunately, the answer is no. However, liability coverage may help you in a case where Biscuit destroys someone else’s property.
What Type of Pet Damage is Covered by My Insurance?
While your standard homeowners policy may help protect your home and all your precious belongings from certain risks, there is typically limited coverage for pet damage. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to be covered, and what most likely won’t be:
Personal property coverage. Yes, personal property coverage in a homeowners insurance policy may help protect your belongings against certain risks, there is generally no coverage for personal property, such as your furniture or antique coffee table, if it’s damaged by your own pet.
Dwelling or other structures coverage. Most homeowners insurance policies exclude coverage for damage caused by a pet or domestic animals (yes, your pet rat is included, too!) to structures on your property. This includes your house or fence. So if your goat decides to chew through your fence, or your dog puts a hole in your wall, your homeowners insurance is more than likely not going to cover the cost of repairs.
Liability coverage comes with most standard homeowners policies. It can provide coverage if your pet damages someone else’s property. Say your horse breaks your neighbor’s fence, or your puppy chews through your friend’s coffee table, the liability coverage in your homeowners policy may help cover the cost of repairs or replacements. This same coverage could also be applied for domestic animals, such as a horse, goat, pig, cow, or chicken, if the animal is a pet and/or used for hobby purposes. (Sorry, business farming is not included!) Another good thing to note is if Scruffy bites someone, that claim is usually covered by liability portion of your homeowners policy.
Make sure you read your policy thoroughly and talk with an insurance expert who can answer specific questions about what is, and isn’t covered in your homeowners insurance policy.