Pet Liability Insurance 101

Pet Liability Insurance 101

If you haven’t heard of pet liability insurance before you are not alone. Pet owners who live in an apartment community may be of particular interest to this form of insurance. A pet has the potential to injure another occupant on the property and you certainly will want to have some sort of personal protection.

A vast majority of apartments will require future applicants to purchase a renter’s insurance plan, and this may be the easiest avenue to acquire liability insurance for your pet as well.

What is Renter’s Insurance

Renter’s insurance main purpose is to protect you from unforeseen loss while you are renting an apartment or home.

  • This should cover the damage or loss of your personal property.
  • If a person suffers an injury while in your apartment home you may be held liable.
  • If you are displaced because of a floor or fire, a policy should cover alternative living costs.
  • Items stolen from your apartment home should be covered.

You will have to decide if you prefer replacement cost or cash value in the case that your items are stolen or damaged.

  • Replacement cost will furnish you with a brand new item in case of a total loss
  • The cash value will furnish you with money for the current market value of your belongings. They will no doubt have depreciated over time so this normally won’t be enough to buy a brand new item.

Remember that many communities will require that you have a policy upon move-in. If you don’t want to take out a policy, your application will be denied. Most landlords will have some sort of property insurance.

You should check with them to see if any of your belongings are covered under their policy.

How Does Pet Liability Insurance Work

There are many scenarios whereby pet liability insurance can protect you from unforeseen loss. This will give you some protection to cover any costs related to injury or damage caused by your pet.

Here are a couple of examples to consider

Pet Injury:

Your dog bites a guest who acquires treatment from an urgent care facility or even a hospital emergency room. These can be quite costly. Luckily your pet liability insurance will cover the costs for you. The company will get involved and negotiate with the injured individual directly. Whatever the outcome is, it won’t have a major financial impact upon you.

Property Damage Issues:


Dogs with claws can leave deep scratch marks on wood floors or urinate on carpet causing heavy stains. Either way, this damage can result in the entire carpet in the apartment home requiring replacement. The insurance again will cover the costs associated with any repairs being made to the residence.

Don’t assume that your regular renter’s insurance policy will also include your pet. You will want to speak with an agent who can answer any particular questions you have about a pet liability insurance policy

What Type of Damage is Excluded

As with all insurance policies, there are items that will not be covered. This means that it’s on you to replace or repair items damaged by your pet.

  • If your cat scratches your sofa or couch this won’t be covered. This applies to all of your personal items.
  • Many pets have been known to attack their owners. If you require treatment for a dog bite or scratch, you cannot file a claim in this scenario either. Pet injury is only covered when the injury is occurred by someone, not in your household. So if your dog bites your wife, your claim will be denied.
  • It’s also possible that some insurance companies won’t cover specific pets. In fact, certain apartments for rent won’t accept aggressive breeds. This includes Dobermans and Pit Bulls. Ask the apartment community for a complete list.

Be Aware of Insurance Policy Limits


All types of insurance policies will have a maximum amount that is paid out per incident or for the lifetime of your policy. You can choose the parameters of your policy, but anything over will require that you come out of pocket to fulfill those expenses.

Certain dog breeds will have a greater likelihood of biting or scratching. You should take some time and research on how much of a policy you actually need. You might be surprised at the expense you need to care for a dog bite. An insurance agent can help you pick out a policy that makes sense for you/

According to this law firm, the average cost for dog claims were slightly over 37 thousand dollars per incident.

Policies will have deductibles. This means every time you file a claim, you will have to pay for an initial amount before the insurance policy will kick in.


  • A pet liability insurance policy will protect you from claims filed against you because your pet injured a person or caused damage to the property.
  • All policies will have exclusions. It won’t cover any injury your pet inflicts upon you or a member of your household.
  • Policies will also have limits. This means that the insurance company won’t pay out once a certain threshold has been met.


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