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Accidental pet damage and home insurance

Much as we love our pets, they’re sometimes not as well behaved as we’d like. If your pet shreds your sofa or knocks over your favourite vase, will you be covered by home insurance? We take a look.

Much as we love our pets, they’re sometimes not as well behaved as we’d like. If your pet shreds your sofa or knocks over your favourite vase, will you be covered by home insurance? We take a look.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
14 SEPTEMBER 2023
5 min read
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Is accidental pet damage covered by my standard home insurance?

You won’t usually come across standard home insurance that covers pet damage.

Accidental damage insurance that might include cover for pet damage doesn’t usually come as standard with your home insurance, but you can add it to your buildings and contents insurance policies for an extra fee. It typically covers repairs or replacement if an item is broken or damaged by accident.

Will accidental damage cover include damage caused by pets?

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

Other providers will exclude damage caused by scratching, chewing, tearing, vomiting or fouling, and some will exclude all pet damage.

If you’re considering buying accidental damage insurance as an add-on to your home insurance, read the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly what’s covered.

The last thing you want is your beloved pet wrecking your home and you not being able to use your home insurance to recover the costs.

Is it possible to get home insurance that covers pet damage?

A limited number of insurance providers include domestic pet damage in their higher-tier packages. If you want to get insurance for pet damage, you’ll probably need to upgrade to a more extensive (and expensive) policy or look for extended accidental damage cover.

You also have the option of ‘self-insurance’ – putting a little money each month into a savings account that pays interest. If your pooch has a naughty streak and decides to chew one of your dining chairs, you’ll hopefully have enough cash saved up to replace or repair it.

Does pet damage insurance cover everything?

Even if you upgrade your home insurance cover to include accidental damage by your pet, there might still be some exclusions.

These might include damage caused by:

  • Vomiting, fouling or urinating
  • Leaving your pet alone at home
  • Puppies and kittens under eight weeks old
  • Some breeds of dog.

Damage to your garden may also be excluded.

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

Do you have to inform your home insurance provider that you have pets?

Insurance providers will usually ask if you have a cat or dog. As with any other question on your insurance application, you’ll need to answer truthfully to make sure you have the right cover. When you compare home insurance quotes with us, we’ll ask if you have any cats or dogs living with you.

You should also let your insurance provider know if you install a cat or dog flap, as this might be considered to make your home less secure.

What if my dog damages someone else’s property?

Even if you have home insurance that covers pet damage, you’re still unlikely to be insured if your dog destroys someone else’s property.

If you’re worried that your dog may cause damage or injure someone, you might want to consider pet insurance that includes third-party liability cover. This usually comes as standard with lifetime and maximum benefit pet insurance, which are typically the most expensive policies.

Third-party insurance could cover you for unexpected costs including:

  • Damage to someone else’s property or belongings
  • Vet bills if your dog attacks another animal
  • Legal fees if your dog attacks another person.

Pet insurance for cats doesn’t offer third party insurance for cat owners.

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 to prevent your pet from causing damage in the first place.

  • Begin basic puppy training and toilet training from an early age.
  • Make sure 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.
  • Invest in a pet gate if you want to keep your pet out of certain rooms or stop them going upstairs.
  • Avoid leaving your pet alone for long periods. Dogs crave human companionship and can become destructive if they’re bored or anxious.
  • Take your pet for regular check-ups by the vet.

Will my home insurance cover damage by wild animals?

It’s not just pets you need to worry about when it comes to accidental damage. Other animals, including pests like rats, mice and insects, can also cause problems in your home.

Damage caused by vermin and insect infestations is usually excluded from standard home insurance, just like pet damage. But getting rid of pests may be covered if you have home emergency cover. Check your policy details.

Other types of damage by wild animals, like foxes or birds, may be covered by your home insurance as standard or under an accidental damage add-on, depending on the type of damage. As always, you’ll need to check your policy to find out exactly what you’re covered for.

How can I find home insurance with pet damage?

When you compare quotes, check the terms and conditions to see which insurance policies include or exclude accidental pet damage. This is typically found in the ‘accidental damage section’ of the policy documents.

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Frequently asked questions

Is there pet damage insurance for tenants?

Pet damage to rented accommodation is unlikely to be covered by your contents insurance. This is why landlords might be unwilling to have tenants who have pets.

You may find your landlord insists that you agree to pay for any damage caused to their property by your cat or dog.

Does home insurance cover dog bites?

Most home insurance policies cover dog bites as standard. However, there are usually some exclusions, so it may depend on the breed of dog, who is bitten and if your dog was under control at the time. Check your policy documents to be sure.

Is accidental damage cover worth it?

It’s up to you to decide whether accidental damage is worth it. Weigh up the cost of repairing or replacing something you value in your home if it were damaged, against the additional cost to your insurance policy. Then decide whether it’s worth it or not for you.

Is pet damage covered by pet insurance?

Usually not. Pet insurance is more like healthcare insurance for your pet to help you cover vet bills. It won’t normally cover damage to your home, however, it might cover damage to someone else’s home under third-party liability. But you’ll have to check your policy details to be sure.

Anna McEntee - Insurance comparison expert

Anna’s all about delivering fantastic insurance products at a great price. Value is the most important thing for Anna, as she cuts through the jargon and finds what’s most important and worth your hard-earned money.

Learn more about Anna

Rebecca Goodman - Insurance expert

Rebecca Goodman is a freelance financial journalist who specialises in insurance, personal finance and consumer affairs. Rebecca regularly writes for national newspapers including The Independent and The Mail on Sunday on a wide-range of financial topics. She covers everything from money-saving tips and holiday advice to investigations into how energy efficient appliances can cut the cost of household bills and the impact donating money can have on those in need. Along with features in national papers, Rebecca also writes news stories for websites including Yourmoney.com and The Money Edit.

Learn more about Rebecca

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