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No matter how well-behaved your pet is, even the most responsible pet owners know that accidents can happen. Renters insurance covers liability costs, making it a valuable investment for pet owners with furry friends that could potentially injure someone or damage their property.

Depending on your insurance provider, coverage for certain dog breeds and exotic pets may be excluded. Renters insurance also doesn’t cover your pet’s health costs, which are covered by pet insurance. Despite these exceptions, renters insurance is vital for any renter with a pet.

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When Does Renters Insurance Cover Your Pet?

Of the two main renters insurance coverages — personal property and personal liability — the personal liability portion of renters insurance covers third-party damage or injury caused by your pet. This means you are only covered if your pet hurts others or damages others’ property, while you and your property are not covered. When you purchase a renters insurance policy, you’ll have to decide on a liability coverage limit, and you’ll be responsible for expenses above that limit.

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Renters insurance only covers damages and injuries your pet causes to others, not to you.

Some examples of pet incidents typically covered by personal liability insurance include:

  • Your cat scratches a guest, and they require medical treatment.
  • Your dog bites a visitor, and they need to go to the hospital.
  • Your pet damages a guest’s personal property, like having an accident on their expensive laptop.

A typical renters insurance policy covers $100,000 in personal liability, but you often have the option to purchase additional coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of a dog bite claim in the U.S. is almost $45,000, and severe incidents can cost even more. This means that renters insurance with pet coverage is a good investment even if you have calm, well-behaved pets, since even the best pets may lash out when stressed and you never know when an accident could occur.

Renters Liability Insurance Might Not Cover Dog Breeds or Exotic Pets

Depending on your insurance provider, renters insurance liability coverage might not cover some dog breeds or exotic pets. Rightly or wrongly, some breeds of dogs, like pit bulls and German Shepherds, are considered to be more aggressive than other breeds and may not be covered for that reason. In addition, exotic pets like reptiles, wolves or other wild animals usually aren’t covered. If you’re not sure whether your renters insurance covers your pet, you should check with your provider.

Options if Liability Insurance Doesn’t Cover Your Pet Liability

Even if your pet isn’t covered under renters insurance liability coverage, you still have options. These include purchasing an umbrella policy with expanded coverage or purchasing pet-specific liability insurance, depending on your situation.

When Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover Your Pet?

Renters insurance liability coverage doesn’t cover injuries your pet causes to you, or damages it causes to your property or your apartment. Renters insurance also doesn’t cover any of your pet’s health costs, which are covered by pet insurance.

What Your Pet Is Covered For

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Renters insurance does cover your pet liability costs.

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Renters insurance does not cover your pet’s damage to you or your property.

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Pet insurance, not renters insurance, covers your pet’s health costs.

For example, if your elderly pet has an accident on a carpet owned by the landlord, this wouldn’t be covered by renters insurance. Similarly, if your pet is injured inside or outside your apartment, renters insurance won’t cover the vet bill. Instead, you should consider purchasing pet insurance to cover your pet’s health expenses.

Where to Buy Renters Insurance

You can purchase renters insurance from most major insurance companies, as well as smaller insurers like Lemonade. Most policies require a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage. With $20,000 of personal property coverage, typical renters insurance policies have an average cost of about $13 per month. You should be sure to shop around and compare coverage to find the best renters insurance providers to meet your needs and ensure you get the lowest rate.

If you’re concerned about your liability and need additional coverage, it generally only costs a few dollars per month to switch to a higher liability coverage limit of $300,000. If you’re not sure what coverage limit makes sense for your situation, most insurance providers are more than happy to help you find the coverage that works for you.

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Ensure you are getting the best rate for your insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

FAQ About Covering Pets with Renters Insurance

While many renters are familiar with rental insurance policies that cover basic risks like theft or property damage due to natural disasters, they may not be as familiar with the liability coverage portion of renters insurance, which includes pet liability coverage. Some common questions about pet liability insurance for renters include:


When is my pet covered under renters insurance?This is an icon

In most cases, your pet is covered for injury or property damage to others under the personal liability coverage portion of your renters insurance policy. If you have an exotic pet or a breed of dog that is often considered aggressive, your policy may not cover that pet and you might have to purchase additional coverage.

What type of pets are excluded from renters insurance coverage?This is an icon

Many renters insurance policies exclude certain dog breeds, like pit bulls or German Shepherds, from personal liability coverage. Exotic pets are also usually excluded.

What is the difference between renters insurance for pets and pet insurance?This is an icon

Renters insurance for pets covers any damage or personal injury your pet might cause to a guest or visitor at your rental property. Pet insurance covers health expenses for your pet, like vet checkups or emergency surgery.

How much is pet renters insurance?This is an icon

Pet liability coverage is included under the personal liability coverage of a renters insurance policy. Typical premiums cost about $13 a month on average.

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About the Author


Margaret Wack is a freelance writer. Her writing on personal finance and insurance has appeared in venues including Money Under 30, The Simple Dollar and Fiscal Tiger.