Image of a small dog sleeping on a couch in an rental unit.

Renters Insurance for Dog Owners

Updated August 1, 2020 . AmFam Team

Dogs of a breed known to bite are typically excluded or limited in a renters policy. Learn more about liability insurance coverage for dogs from American Family.

Your furry friends are part of the family. They go with you on walks, to the dog park and — best of all — they’re there for you when you need them most. When you’re a tenant renting a home or an apartment, your renters insurance policy can help protect you in a number of key ways. But do you know if renters insurance covers your dog?

If your dog bites or injures someone, you may be surprised to find that your renters policy can help cover liabilities caused by your dog. There’s a lot to learn about how renters insurance can cover your pets.

We’ll walk you through some of the ways your renters policy is also renters insurance for the dogs in your life.

What Is the Cost of Adding Renters Insurance With Dogs?

Most renters policies already include a certain amount of liability coverage for your pets, and the cost to insure your pet is included in the price of the base policy. However, policies will vary from one renters insurance company to the next, and some may charge an additional fee for dogs of a certain breed, over a certain weight.

Even if your dog falls into one of these categories, you can likely still find pet liability insurance with a personal umbrella liability policy. Check with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) to learn about specific renters coverages and restrictions.

Do Renters Insurance Policies Cover Dog Liability?

At American Family Insurance, our renters policies include liability coverage. This coverage is a form of financial protection against liability claims, including lawsuits and medical expenses for accidental bodily injury or damage to someone’s property. Typically, this includes liability coverage for injuries your dog may cause — like biting a guest — up to your policy’s liability limit.

To ensure your dog is covered by your renters insurance, you’ll want to check in with your agent and discuss any exclusions or limits on your policy — including liability coverage and what you could be on the hook for in the event of serious bodily injury resulting from your dog.

What Is Covered Under Dog Liability Insurance?

Here’s how your renters insurance helps cover your dog:

Property damage of others caused by your dog

If your pet breaks or destroys the belongings of others, you can be covered with this important protection. Suppose you’re at a friend’s home with your dog and it bumps into a table, knocking over and breaking an expensive TV. Your renter’s policy can help cover the cost of replacing items that your dog damages or destroys.

Dog bites and related injuries

One of the most valuable parts of this pet coverage for renters can help you when you need it most: your finances can be protected if medical expenses result if your dog bites someone.*

Should your dog bite another dog, you can be covered with renters insurance. And if the mailman suffers a sprained wrist after your dog jumped up to say hello, your finances can be better protected with this coverage.

Renters Insurance for Dogs: Coverage Limits

Your coverage limits on dog liabilities under a renters policy will depend on the value you select. When your agent builds your policy, you’ll select liability coverage limits that meet your needs. You can even increase that coverage limit. Keep in mind that costs for premiums and coverage limits can be related to your ZIP code, insurance score, credit score and even your driving record.

What’s not covered by dog liability renters insurance?

There are some circumstances where issues caused by your dog would not be covered with a renters insurance policy. We offer a special add-on coverage that provides up to $1,000 for veterinarian or final expenses for your dog, cat, fish or bird as a result of a covered loss.

Here are a few examples of canine liability losses that are typically not covered by standard renters policies:

  • Damage done by your pets to your own personal property
  • Dog injuries sustained by you and those in your household
  • Damage due to dogs destroying carpets or chewing on the woodwork or any other physical damage to the structure or contents of your rental

Dog breeds and pets excluded from renters insurance

Are there any dog breed restrictions under renters insurance? In some cases, insurance companies won’t cover certain canine breeds because they’re known to be aggressive. Others don’t cover dogs that weigh over a certain limit.

Here’s a sample of pet types that are typically excluded or limited in a renters policy:

  • Trained attack dogs
  • Unneutered male dogs
  • Dogs with a history of biting

Some exotic pets may also be limited or excluded by a renters policy. Again, these limitations are subject to your specific insurance company, so connect with your agent (Opens in a new tab) to find out about coverage for your dog’s breed or type, or for questions related to exotic pets.

Filing a Liability Insurance Claim for Damage Caused by Your Dog

Let’s say your dog plays a little too rough with the sitter while you’re away and the sitter gets a cut on their arm. Luckily, you made the smart choice of selecting a renters policy with dog liability coverage, so your financial future looks much more secure.

Since this accident will require stitches, your claims process may look like this:

  1. Contact the injured person and record basic facts about the incident
  2. Record any previous bite history
  3. Log onto and file a claim

Tips for Dog Owners to Avoid Damage

Being a pet owner is a lot of responsibility. But with a little training and consistent praise, your pup will have a better idea of how to behave. Take a look at these ideas for helping your furry friend navigate interactions with strangers and kids.

Train your dog

Invest some time in obedience school and work with your dog to learn basic commands. You’ll find your dog can behave more predictably when meeting new people.

Pet-proof your home

Take steps to prevent your dog from getting into trouble. Be sure that your garbage is out of reach either behind a door or use babyproofing cabinet door catches. Because pets can be unpredictable, place hazardous plants and cleaning materials out of their reach. Remember that certain types of plants — like poinsettias — can be toxic to pets, as well as certain foods like dark chocolate.

Make time for exercise

Most dogs require exercise and training every day in order to help them stay mentally and physically fit. If you can’t make it to the dog park, be sure to schedule at least three walks per day and make one a little more vigorous than the others.

Ready for a Renters Insurance Quote?

While you’re considering your renters insurance options, check in with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and request a quote. You’ll find our agents are able to build you a fine-tuned policy that can help to protect both your belongings and your finances in very important ways.

And make sure to check out our Renters and Apartment Resource Hub for more tips and advice about renters insurance and apartment living!

*Coverage depends on selected personal liability limits. While this coverage provides some protection, it may not provide total protection in every case.

This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.

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