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Are pets covered by renters insurance?

Renters insurance protects your personal property, liability and additional living expenses should your home become uninhabitable, along with medical payments to others. If you’re a renter — whether you’re renting an apartment or house — having a renters insurance policy is a wise decision, as average premiums only add up to about $15 per month ($188 annually).

If you’re a pet owner, renters insurance is a good safeguard should the unexpected strike. Though you may not expect your beloved pup to hurt anyone, dog bites do happen. Renters insurance coverage provides a cushion for any potential expenses — whether medical or legal.

Whether or not your renters policy covers your pet — and how it covers them — depends on the circumstances. Your renters insurance is only applicable if your pet injures someone else — in other words, it only covers your liability as a pet owner. 

If you're interested in pet insurance not specifically tied to your rental, consider using Pawlicy Advisor to compare pet insurance quotes


Pet-related costs covered by renters insurance

If your pet injures someone — like a guest or neighbor — renters insurance will cover your liability. This coverage also extends outside of your home. If your dog bit someone at the dog park, your renters insurance would kick in to help cover the injured party's medical expenses and your legal fees if you’re sued, up to your liability coverage limit. If your dog bit another dog at the dog park, your liability coverage would go toward the veterinary costs — in this case, the injured animal is considered the personal property of the other dog owner, so your renters policy would step in to help cover the damage done to the owner’s property.

If your pet were to damage someone else’s property, your renters insurance would only extend to that person and their property. Let’s say your cat scratched and destroyed yours and your neighbor’s lawn furniture. Renters insurance would only cover the cost of replacing your neighbor’s furniture, even though you both suffered property damage.

Renters insurance does not cover damage inflicted by your pet on your own property. If your new puppy pees on some of your electronics or chews up your furniture, it won’t be covered by your renters policy. Although protection for your personal property is part of your coverage, a pet damaging or destroying your belongings is simply not considered a covered peril by insurance companies.

Renters insurance does not cover damage inflicted by your pet on your own property.

Restricted breeds and renters insurance

Though it may seem discriminatory, insurance companies base their decisions on historical data and statistics. This holds true whether an insurer is evaluating the risk profiles of a customer, vehicle, dwelling or pet. This data indicates certain dog breeds and types of pets are riskier to cover — that they’re more likely to be the source of claims. It has nothing to do with your individual dog’s temperament.

However, if your dog has a history of aggression or biting, insurance companies may hesitate to assume that risk — by either excluding the pet from coverage, denying coverage altogether, or charging you a more expensive premium. Exotic pets may be excluded from insurance coverage entirely.

Which dog breeds are restricted by insurance companies?

Every insurance company’s requirements are different, and some breeds are more stigmatized than others. Your insurer might choose to specifically exclude the dog from liability coverage — meaning that you won’t be covered, legally or medically, if your dog injures someone.

These dog breeds may be ineligible for coverage under a renters policy:

  • German Shepherd
  • Akita
  • Malamute
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Great Dane*
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback*
  • Mastiff
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Wolf hybrid

*Insurance eligibility may vary.

Does renters insurance cover exotic pets?

Largely, no — exotic pets may be excluded, as they present unique risks. Look into acquiring a separate exotic pet insurance policy to cover the elevated risks of keeping an exotic animal in your home.

Exotic pets include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Amphibians
  • Reptiles
  • Ferrets
  • Rabbits
  • Snakes
  • Turtles
  • Birds

How to get renters insurance if you own a restricted dog breed

Not all insurance companies discriminate based on breed, but many major insurance companies do. The best you can do is shop around with as many insurers as possible to find the most dog-friendly. Every insurance company has their own list of breeds they consider risky or they might evaluate dogs on a case-by-case basis. There are still some options if you can’t get coverage for your pet.

One solution would be to buy a separate liability policy specifically for your dog. Dog liability insurance specifically covers your dog and the liability it poses if your renters policy excludes or refuses to provide coverage. Another solution is to get an umbrella policy on top of your renters insurance, which would fill in the gaps when it comes to liability and your pet. If your renters insurance policy excludes your dog, an umbrella policy could grant the liability coverage you’d need. If you get an umbrella policy to extend your liability coverage, it would only apply if the liability limit in your renters policy is exhausted.

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Kristine Lee photo
Kristine LeeManager, Content and Data

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a freelance copywriter for over five years. 

She is an authority on all things insurance and covers the ins and outs of auto, home, life and renters insurance. Her specialty is in providing data-backed insights and information to help insurance shoppers make informed decisions.

Kristine's insurance expertise and research have been cited by publications such as CNBC, BadCredit.orgCar and Driver, Business Insider, Yahoo!, The Balance, Nationwide and Elephant.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.