Is Renters Insurance More Expensive When You Own Pets?

By Cody Leovic – Updated June 3, 2023

Renters insurance is an essential safety precaution for anyone renting a home or apartment. The policy will protect you in 2 key categories: personal property coverage and personal liability coverage.

As the name suggests, personal property coverage can protect your personal property if anything is damaged, broken, or stolen due to a covered loss. Make sure to check with your policyholder to determine what events are covered. In most cases, the coverage will include personal items such as furniture, electronics, etc. 

Personal liability coverage on the other hand covers you in the event that you are held legally responsible for an incident on your property such as a guest’s injury. The coverage helps pay for medical bills and legal fees if a covered event like this occurs.  Any structural damages to a home would typically be covered by the landlord’s insurance policy. 

Does renters insurance cover pets?

If you are a pet owner you may be wondering if your insurance will cost more money and whether or not any pet-related incidents are covered in your policy. The answer will depend on the policy and the provider, so always confirm with them. However, having pets will typically increase your renters insurance costs since it would help cover pet-related liability events.

For example, any personal property damages caused by your pet will probably not be covered as an eligible claim. If your dog eats your airpods, they unfortunately won’t be covered! However, if you have a dog and it injures someone, you may be liable for those medical bills. This is where your liability coverage will often approve claims up to your coverage amounts. 

Because owning a pet can increase your liability exposure, insurance companies will often charge more for the liability insurance in order to mitigate the extra risk they are taking on. The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that roughly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. These staggering numbers help explain why insurance companies need to price in extra liability risk to their policies. 

Do you need to tell your insurance company if you own pets?

Yes. If you are renting a home or apartment it is crucial that your rental insurance policy holder knows that you have pets in your home. If they are unaware, they may have the ability to deny a claim if your pet causes any injury that warrants medical or legal expenses. Also, remember that insurance companies may have different rules around what pets are and are not covered, so make sure your animal and breed type is approved. 

Are all types of pets covered under liability insurance?

Always double-check with your provider as they may have different policies for exotic pets such as reptiles and birds. They may even have different rates and coverage policies for the breed of dog you own, as there are certain dog breeds that are viewed as being more aggressive or having a greater chance of causing injury than others. It is common to find that the following breeds, identified by Bankrate, may not be covered:

Akita

American Staffordshire Terrier

Chow Chow

Doberman Pinscher

German Shepherd

Great Dane

Husky or Malamute

Mastiff

Pitbull

Presa Canario

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rottweiler

Saint Bernard

Wolf-dog hybrids

If you own one of these breeds, discuss the options with your provider and understand any potential surcharge. Use this information to shop around when looking for rates and make sure the quotes include the breed information so that you have no surprises when closing on a policy. 

What happens if my dog breed is not covered by my renters insurance?

If your pet is not covered, you can ask if there are any coverage options available for an extra fee. If they still deny the coverage, you may want to shop around.

Alternatively, you can look for a pet insurance policy or umbrella policy that covers your liability with the specific breed. Having a specific policy on your pet will often broaden the coverage and help protect you if an incident happens in public or somewhere other than your property. 

If my pet injures someone, will my insurance go up?

If you file a pet-related claim, there is a good chance that your insurance premium will increase. This is because you will be viewed as a higher risk and so you will be charged more to mitigate that risk for the insurance provider. 

In some cases, if the claim is severe enough, your insurance company can decide to cancel your coverage. 

Case study: comparing renters insurance rates of pet owners vs non-pet owners

Below you will find data on sample policy quotes from Lemonade.com in May of 2023. As a reminder, policy pricing depends on many variables, many of which are personal to your circumstance and your home. So, the average rates below may be different than the rates you receive. 

Renters insurance with cat and dog

source

As you can see, the average policy for a pet owner was $38 more per year. This comes out to slightly more than $3 per month. 

You can always shop around and search for better rates, so definitely do your research and find the policy that is best for you and your pets!

Shopping for a pet-friendly rental?

If you are in the market for a new rental home or apartment you are aware that landlord pet policies come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes pets are fully prohibited, and other policies allow pets but with an extra “pet fee” that will increase the cost of your rent. These expenses help cover the extra cleaning fees associated with cleaning a property that housed a pet. 

When you own a home you have much more freedom to own the pets you want. However, if you live in a property governed by an HOA board, you should always confirm their pet policy so you don’t have any surprises when moving in.

At Divvy Homes, we love pets and consider them part of the family! We allow up to 3 pets in a house. There is no fee associated with the pets if you rent the home. If you end up leaving the property without buying it, you will incur a one time $300 pet cleaning fee. You can read about our full pet policy here.

FAQs About Pets and Renters Insurance

Why are some pets excluded from renters insurance?

Insurance companies may consider certain breeds or species of animals to have a higher risk of causing harm or property damage. Dog breeds with a history of aggressive behavior are sometimes not allowed on certain policies. 

Can you claim pet damage on renters insurance?

Always read the specifics of your policy, but in most cases, renters insurance does not cover property damage caused by pets. The property damages that are typically covered include theft, fires, and vandalism, while pet-related damages are considered normal wear and tear and considered the responsibility of the pet owner. 

Some insurance companies offer add-ons that provide coverage for pet damages, but these options may come with specific restrictions and additional costs.

If you have concerns about potential pet damage, you may want to consider looking into a separate, specialized pet insurance policy. These policies can provide coverage for certain types of property damages caused by your pet. They offer more comprehensive coverage for pet damage than renters insurance.

Does renters insurance cover cat or dog pee? 

Typically, cat pee or dog pee is not covered under renters insurance. Pet damages to a property are considered the responsibility of the pet owner.

Cody Leovic is on the marketing and content team here at Divvy Homes. He has 5+ years of experience working on consumer banking products and has a particular interest in home buyer financing solutions - such as Divvy!

Cody has been through the home purchase process 3 times and loves sharing his thoughts on everything he as learned along the way! He provides tips and guides to help make the homeownership journey less daunting.