Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

The liability portion of your renters insurance policy may cover medical and legal expenses if your dog bites somebody. However, you should notify your insurance company of your new pet before you move into the unit or if you’re thinking of adopting one. Certain dog breeds may be excluded from your policy, which would require you to purchase additional coverage or pay for liability costs out of pocket.

Are Specific Dog Breeds Excluded From Renters Insurance Coverage?

Many renters insurance companies will cover dogs but may exclude specific breeds that can be considered dangerous. For example, some insurers may exclude pit bulls. A DogsBite survey showed that pit bulls were responsible for 66% of 521 fatal dog attacks from 2005 to 2019.

Below is a list of common breeds that insurance companies may not cover in your renters policy.

  • Pit bulls
  • Great Danes
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • American Bulldogs
  • Rottweilers
  • Akitas
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Chow Chows
  • Mastiffs
  • German Shepherds
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Presa Canarios

Why Are Some Dog Breeds Excluded From Renters Insurance?

Renters insurance companies may exclude specific breeds if data shows they have a disposition for heavy aggression or violence. The Stoy Law Group lists several physical traits that may be determiners of aggressive or violent behavior:

  • Strong musculature
  • Muscular cheeks
  • A large, strong jaw
  • A robust, wide mouth
  • A voluminous head
  • Parallel, straight forelegs
  • Muscular hindquarters

Usually excluded on a renters policy, pit bulls were responsible for 66% of 521 fatal dog attacks from 2005 to 2019.

What Is the Average Cost of Adding Renters Insurance With a Dog?

The cost of adding a dog to renters insurance will vary depending on where you live, the insurance company and the breed of dog you have. Your insurance company will provide you a quote on what it costs to add a dog to your renters policy. If you agree to the price, your premium will increase, and the coverage in your personal liability protection will extend to your dog.

How Do I Add a Dog to My Renters Insurance Policy?

When adding a dog to your renters policy, you will need to supply the following details to your insurance provider:

  • Breed
  • Age
  • Size (weight)
  • Whether it’s been neutered if it’s a male
  • Bite history (if there is one)

You can agree to the quote your insurance provider provides to insure your dog or reject it. If you reject it, you will need to purchase a pet liability policy for coverage (see next section). Otherwise, you will pay out of pocket for liability costs your dog incurs.

Personal Liability Renters Insurance - Compare Rates Now!

What Happens if My Dog Isn’t Covered By Renters Insurance?

If your insurance company excludes your dog’s breed from coverage, you can buy liability insurance from the following carriers with rates as low as $10 a month:

  • Federation of Insured Dog Owners
  • Einhorn Insurance Agency
  • Lester Kalmanson Agency, Inc.
  • Evolution Insurance Brokers
  • InsureMyK9

Your renters insurance policy may cover damage caused by domesticated animals, including cats, chickens and exotic animals

Which States Have the Highest Dog Bite Claims?

Below, we’ve listed the top 10 states for the highest number of claims related to dog bites.

Rank

State

Number of Claims

Average Cost per Claim

Value of Claims (in millions)

1

California

2,026

$59,561

$120.7

2

Florida

1,478

$54,820

$81.0

3

Texas

1,003

$39,884

$40.0

4

New York

900

$68,203

$61.4

5

Michigan

892

$48,258

$43.0

6

Illinois

844

$56,292

$47.5

7

Pennsylvania

777

$47,353

$36.8

8

Ohio

732

$41,499

$30.4

9

New Jersey

611

$49,981

$30.5

10

Arizona

489

$43,059

$21.1

 

Top 10

9,752

$52,543

$512.4

 

Total United States

17,989

$49,025

$881.9

Source: Insurance Information Institute.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Other Pets?

Your renters insurance policy may cover damage caused by domesticated animals, including cats, chickens and exotic animals (e.g., ferrets, fish, small birds, hamsters, gerbils and rats). However, coverage for specific animals will vary by company.

What Damages Caused by a Dog Aren’t Covered by Renters?

A renters policy provides liability coverage for your pets if they cause injury to other people who are not household members. Renters insurance will not cover your pet if it damages your personal property or injures you or household members, like family and roommates. Health insurance should cover your medical costs incurred from your dog biting you in those cases.

Tips for Renters To Avoid Damages Caused by a Dog

Dog training and regular exercise can help prevent or mitigate damages caused by your dog to yourself and other people.

Invest in a Canine Training Course

A trained professional can give your dog obedience training and teach you how to properly handle your pet. Training will establish a sense of predictability and give you resources on managing your dog when there’s company.

Exercise Your Dog

Regular exercise can do wonders in helping your pet release pent-up or aggressive energy. Taking them on hikes, playing frisbee, throwing a ball or taking them swimming are all good ways to let your dog unwind. Exercised dogs may be less likely to chew on furniture from boredom and may feel more friendly and obedient when guests visit.

A renters policy provides liability coverage for your pets if they cause injury to other people who are not household members.

FAQs

What's the difference between renters insurance and pet insurance?

Renters insurance provides coverage for your personal belongings plus liability coverage, which can include losses your pet causes. Pet insurance is usually a health insurance policy for your pet and only a few insurers offer liability coverage as an add-on.

Does renters insurance cover cats?

Your renters insurance policy will usually cover your cat but you should notify your insurance company to confirm coverage and update your premium to include the pet.

Does renters insurance cover a dog attack?

If your dog attacks another person, the medical payments or liability portion of your renters insurance policy should cover their medical bills unless your dog is an excluded breed.

Does renters insurance cover dog bites off property?

Your renters insurance company may cover off-property dog bites, such as if they bit somebody while at the park or after sneaking into your neighbor’s backyard. Coverage can vary by policy and company so be sure to confirm with your insurer.

Key Takeaways

  • Your renters insurance can provide coverage in case your dog bites someone.
  • Many insurance companies have a list of excluded breeds they will not cover.
  • You may need to purchase a separate pet liability policy if your renters insurance won’t cover your dog.

Whether you're renting a house, condo or apartment, don’t risk going without coverage for yourself or your pet. Enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to receive free renters insurance quotes from agents in your area offering the lowest rates.

Sources

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