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July 15, 2020

Understanding Pet Liability Insurance

Agitated Dog

Everyone loves their pet, but the fact that your animal loves you doesn’t mean it loves a stranger. That also doesn’t stop it from being curious, playful, and occasionally aggressive. So, if your pet causes a friend or neighbor a problem, then they might blame you for the resulting damage. Your homeowners insurance policy might be able to help you out with some of these issues. However, it won’t always apply in all cases.

Talk to your Smart Insurance & Financial Services agent about your pet. See if your homeowners policy offers pet liability coverage for these needs.

Homeowners Liability Insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies include liability coverage. This coverage applies when your mistakes or negligence cause injury or property damage to someone who does not live in your home. A common claim is one where someone slips and falls on your property. They might then attempt to sue for their medical costs. Coverage might help you reach a settlement with the injured party. It can also cover your legal expenses resulting from the accident. Therefore, you won’t lose a lot of money over an accident.

Your liability policy can cover negligence by all your family members who live with you. This can include your furry friends. Many homeowners policies include coverage for pet liabilities. So, if your dog bites someone, or your cat gets into a neighbor’s home and does damage, then your policy might help out. However, your policy contains limits, too.

The Limitations Of Pet Liability Insurance

One perk of home liability insurance is that it can cover damage you cause both on and off your property. Therefore, if your pet tends to wander, then your policy can usually follow them. However, your policy won’t cover every pet liability all the time.

  • Certain types of pet damage might not have coverage. For example, some policies will only cover bodily injuries caused by your pet. They won’t cover property damage the pet does to someone else’s belongings.
  • Policies won’t cover every animal – notably exotic pets. Usually, it only applies to damage done by cats and dogs. Some policies even restrict coverage for dogs to certain breeds. Breeds deemed harmful or aggressive might have no coverage.
  • If you fail to tell your home insurer that you have a pet when you buy your policy, the coverage will likely exclude any liability losses the pet causes. If you get a new pet, be sure to update your coverage.

Keep in mind, pet liability insurance does not cover your pet in cases of injuries or illness. You might need a separate type of pet wellness insurance to help you in these cases. Your policy also won’t pay for damage to your own property or injuries your pet causes you. There is an assumption that since you took your pet into your home, you likely knew the risk of raising an animal.


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