Does Your Renter’s Insurance Change if you Have a Dog?

August 28, 2019

If you have a dog and you rent, you may pay a slightly higher premium for your renter’s insurance. It’s important to be honest with your insurance company about the fact that you have a dog as well as the type of breed that it is. Typically, the liability portion of your renter’s insurance covers the liability that your dog could cause if he bit someone.

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Keep reading to learn how it works.

Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Typically, yes renter’s insurance covers dog bites, but not in all cases. Like we said above, it’s important to tell your insurance company that you have a dog as well as its breed. Certain breeds are on the ‘excluded’ list, which means your insurance company won’t pay a claim for damage your dog did if he is any of the following breeds:

  • Akita
  • Pitbull
  • Huskie
  • Boxer
  • Chow
  • Great Dane
  • German Shephard
  • Staffordshire Terrier

This is a short, but common list of excluded dogs. The exact list will vary by insurance company. When you shop around for renter’s insurance, make sure you mention your dog and its breed to determine if the insurance company still has a policy for you. Many will not offer policies to those with ‘risky’ dogs, while others may offer it, but at higher premiums.

What Happens With Renter’s Insurance if Your Dog Bites?

If your dog bites someone, your renter’s policy will help cover the cost of the medical bills. In a not-so-perfect scenario, though, the medical costs for the dog bite exceed your medical payments coverage. If the victim sues you, your renter’s insurance will help you again. Your policy includes coverage to pay court costs and legal fees, up to your coverage amount.

If you have a dog, it’s highly recommended that you increase your liability coverage on your renter’s insurance. Talk with your insurance agent about the type of dog and the amount of liability insurance they recommend. Increasing your liability coverage will only increase your renter’s insurance premiums a few dollars each month, but it could save you thousands of dollars should your dog bite someone.

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What Happens With Renter’s Insurance if Your Dog Damages Something?

If your dog damages something in your house and it’s not a person, your renter’s insurance won’t’ have any bearing. You don’t have coverage for eaten couches or soiled carpets. On the other hand, if your dog damages someone else’s property, you may file a claim with your renter’s insurance and your liability coverage will pay for the damage to the other person’s property.

What to do if you Have an Excluded Breed

If you have a breed that insurance companies exclude from coverage, you may have to purchase a separate policy. There are a couple of insurance companies that don’t exclude any breeds, but if they aren’t available in your area, ask your insurance agent about an umbrella policy. This additional liability coverage can cover you should your dog bite someone.

Your renter’s insurance shouldn’t change if you have a dog, unless you own a rather large or aggressive dog. Shop around with different insurance agents to get quotes on various policies to see how your premiums are affected. Don’t make the mistake of going without liability coverage, though, as all dogs have the tendency to bite, even the friendliest ones – don’t leave yourself uncovered.

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