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Accidental pet damage and home insurance

Accidental pet damage and home insurance

Much as we love our pets, they can sometimes be a bit more disruptive than we’d like. If your pet shreds your sofa or knocks over one of your favourite household possessions, will you be covered by home insurance? We take a look here.

Chris King
From the Home team
minute read
posted 10 MARCH 2020

Is accidental pet damage covered by my standard home insurance?

Unfortunately, most standard home insurance policies won’t cover accidental damage caused by pets.

The majority of home insurance policies exclude damage caused by pets chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling.

If you come home to find scratch marks down the side of your valuable antique dresser, the likelihood is you won’t be able to claim for the damage on your insurance.

A very limited number of insurance providers will include domestic pet damage in their higher tier packages. If you want to get insurance for pet damage, you may need to upgrade to a more extensive policy.

Pet damage exclusions

If you upgrade to a cover level that includes pet damage, be aware that some exclusions may apply.

Typical exclusions might include damage caused by:

  • vomiting, fouling or urinating
  • leaving your pet alone at home
  • puppies and kittens under eight weeks old
  • specific breeds of dog
  • damage to your garden

Policies may offer full cover or have a maximum limit you can claim up to, for damage caused by pets.

Will accidental damage cover include damage caused by pets?

Accidental damage cover doesn’t usually come as standard with your home insurance, but you can add it to your building and contents insurance policies. It typically covers repairs or replacement if an item is broken or accidental damage has occurred. Some pet insurance policies will also cover accidental damage caused by pets.

Some insurance providers will accept certain types of pet damage under their accidental damage home insurance cover. For example, if your over-energetic Labrador knocks over a family heirloom, you might be able to make a claim.

If you’re considering buying accidental damage insurance as an add-on, read the terms and conditions carefully, so you know exactly what’s covered. Again, it’s most likely that scratching, chewing, tearing and fouling will be excluded.

What if my dog injures someone or damages their property?

If you’re renting a furnished property or you’re worried that your dog may cause damage or injury to someone else, you may want to consider pet insurance that includes third party liability cover.

Third party insurance should cover you for unexpected costs such as:

  • vet bills if your dog attacks another animal
  • legal fees if your dog attacks another person
  • damage costs for someone else’s property or belongings.

Policies don’t offer third-party insurance for cat owners as they can’t be held legally responsible for what these pets do.

How can I prevent my pet from damaging my home?

Animals can be unpredictable. That’s the main reason why many insurance providers are reluctant to offer cover for damage caused by pets.

Ideally, you should try and prevent your pet from causing damage in the first place.

  • Begin basic puppy training and toilet training from an early age.
  • Ensure that dogs get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, from a combination of long walks and play time.
  • Give teething puppies and kittens safe chew toys to gnaw on.
  • Try animal repellent spray and scratch posts to help distract your cat and stop them from clawing furniture and curtains.
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone for long periods. Dogs especially crave human companionship and can become destructive if they’re bored or anxious.

How can I find home insurance with pet damage?

When you compare quotes, check the terms and conditions to see which policies include accidental pet damage. This can often be found in the ‘accidental damage section’ of the policy.

Remember to take note of exclusions so you know exactly what is, and what’s not, covered.

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