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.

Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
minute read
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Posted 10 MARCH 2020 Last Updated 16 MARCH 2022

Is accidental pet damage covered by my standard home insurance?

No, unfortunately, most standard home insurance policies won’t cover accidental damage caused by pets. Some will exclude all pet damage, while others will exclude damage caused by scratching, chewing, tearing, vomiting or fouling. If you have a pet who’s guilty of any of these habits, it might be worth beefing up your protection - unless you want to fork out for repairs yourself.

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 buildings and contents insurance policies. For an extra fee, it typically covers repairs or replacement if an item is broken or damaged by accident.

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. But policies may specifically exclude damage caused by pets chewing, scratching, tearing, fouling or vomiting. 

So, if you come home to find scratch marks down the side of your valuable antique dresser, you may not be able to claim for the damage, even if you have accidental damage cover. 

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. 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 it. And if your pet is as good as gold, you can always treat them to a new bed instead.

Does pet damage insurance cover everything? 

Even if you upgrade your cover to include pet damage, 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.

What if my dog damages someone else’s property? 

Your pet damaging your own things if bad enough, but what if your dog breaks something precious in a friend’s house? If 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. This usually comes as standard with lifetime and maximum benefit pet insurance, which are usually the most expensive policies.

Third party insurance should cover you for unexpected costs including: 

  • Damage costs for 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 especially crave human companionship and can become destructive if they’re bored or anxious.
  • Take your pet for regular check-ups at 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 likely to be excluded from standard home insurance, but getting rid of pests may be covered if you have home emergency cover. Check the policy details to see.

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, the devil is in the details so 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 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. There are lots of policies on the market so you should be able to find one that covers your needs, at an affordable price.

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