does my insurance policy cover pet damage?

Maybe you just got back from vacation to find a guilty-looking dog and a chewed-up couch, or perhaps your cat did some major damage scratching up your walls or carpet. Whatever the case may be, you can learn more here about whether homeowners or renters insurance cover pet damage.

Our furry friends are more than just pets — they're members of the family. But as cute and cuddly as they may be, they can wreak some major havoc in homes. From scratching to gnawing, chewing to digging, damage caused by pets can result in thousands of dollars' worth of destruction.

Generally speaking, most homeowners and renters insurance policies won't cover any personal belongings damaged by your pet. That also applies to the structure of your place (if your new puppy chews up the walls or your cat destroys a large patch of carpet, for example).

Although the accidental damage may be sudden and unexpected, it's typically considered a financial risk you choose to take as a homeowner when you take domesticated animals into your home.

The same applies for animals kept on other areas of your property, like a barn. If your horse decides to get rowdy one evening and kick down the barn door, you'll likely have to pay for the repairs.

what if my pet damages someone else’s property?

Say your pup digs up part of your neighbor's fence, or causes damage to a friend's belongings while they're staying with you. In these scenarios, the personal liability coverage on a typical homeowners or renters insurance policy could kick in to help pay for the repair or replacement bills.

Liability coverage is designed to help cover your personal liability if you (or your pet) accidentally injure someone else or damage their property, and it can also pay for your legal defense should a lawsuit arise.

On an Esurance homeowners policy, we set your default personal liability coverage limit at $100,000 — but you can always increase limits to fully financially protect all your assets and savings. How's that for peace of mind?

What about expenses related to dog bites?

Your homeowners or renters liability coverage could also step in if your dog bites someone — at or away from your place. That means you have protection not only if your pet injures someone inside your home, but also while you're out on a walk or visiting a friend's house, for example.

avoiding pet damage: tips for homeowners and renters

Since it's likely your insurance policy doesn't cover pet damage to your place, it's best to try and avoid your animal running riot to begin with.

Luckily, we have some helpful pointers to get you started.

Engage

Whether it's a vigorous play session or a relaxed rub-down, it's important to engage your dog or cat throughout the day to ensure they're getting the proper attention — and to help ensure they don't spend excess energy on destructive activities.

Train

Dogs should be trained to relieve themselves outside, as cats should be trained to use their litter boxes, to avoid messes inside your home. Your 4-legged friends can also be trained to stay off furniture or countertops, not play with certain items, and much more.

Pet-proof

Make sure your cat has a scratching post or tower to scratch their claws on so they don't do it on your home's carpeting. If you just brought home a new puppy, lay down puppy pads to help ensure accidents don't cause damage to your floors (and a plastic mat should be placed underneath your pet's food and water bowls for the same reason).

Other measures you can take to pet-proof your home include providing your dog or cat with a variety of toys to play with and chew on. That way, they won't go searching for things around your place to play with instead.

Groom

Clipping your pup's nails can help ensure they don't accidentally scratch up hardwood, linoleum, and even tile flooring. You shouldn't have to worry too much about trimming your cat's claws since scratching on a post (or a tree if your cat goes outdoors) does that naturally — but it's always wise to check their paws every now and then to make sure nails aren't overgrown.

protection for your place and more from esurance

Pet damage aside, an insurance policy can still provide a ton of financial protection for things like your belongings, personal liability, additional living expenses if you're forced to move out due to a covered incident, and so much more. Get your free quote for homeowners insurance or renters coverage to see if you could start saving time, money, and hassle with Esurance.

If you're already an Esurance policyholder and have questions about your coverages and how they can help financially protect you, our agents are here to help at these times at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

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