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Insurance Coverage for Damage Caused by Pets

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If you have pets, you understand the benefits they bring to you and your family. Their inquisitiveness, unconditional love, and playfulness make every day different. However, they can get into mischief and cause damage to your home, or even neighbors’ property. Unfortunately, depending on the damage, it may not be covered by your homeowners/renters insurance policy.

Check out these scenarios to learn more about how your homeowners or renters insurance may or may not respond.

Scenario #1

Before going to work on a nice summer day, you decide to open your windows to allow in some fresh air. A midday thunderstorm brings a torrential downpour and plenty of thunder and lightning. When you return home from work, you notice your dog chewed a hole in your drywall because of storm anxiety. Is this damage covered by your homeowners/renters insurance? Unfortunately, it isn’t. Because your pet lives with you, it’s under your control and you’re responsible for its behavior and the damage it causes.

Scenario #2

After a long work week, you decide to go out for dinner with friends. On the way home, you spend time talking to your significant other about how much fun you had. When you arrive home, you notice your cat isn’t there to greet you. You frantically search your home and find he accidentally shut himself in your closet. You also notice he tried to get out by tearing up your carpet. Like scenario #1, there’s no insurance coverage for this damage.

Scenario #3

Your kids have grown up and moved out of your home. You decide to add to the peace and tranquility by setting up an aquarium in your living room. You’ve done your homework and everything turns out nicely. After only a few weeks, your neighborhood experiences a rash of home break-ins. Unfortunately, your home is one of them and the perpetrator smashes your aquarium with a crowbar. Is this damage covered by your homeowners/renters insurance policy? Most homeowners or renters policies will provide coverage for the water damage subject to the policy’s deductible. However, your fish that perished aren’t covered.

Scenario #4

Recently, your neighbor installed a new lawn and several trees and shrubs. You’re enjoying a nice fall day on your patio with your dog. Suddenly, he notices a rabbit in your neighbor’s yard and starts chasing it. While he’s wearing a shock collar, it has no effect on him. When the chase concludes, significant damage has been caused. Does your homeowners/renters policy provide insurance coverage? In this scenario you have liability insurance coverage which provides coverage for damages to other people’s property. Liability coverage may also extend to domestic animals such as goats, pigs, cows, or chickens if they’re pets or part of your hobby farm.

This article is intended for general educational and illustrative purposes only and should not be construed to communicate legal or professional advice.  Further, this article is not an offer to sell insurance.  Please consult with your licensed insurance agent for specific coverage details and your insurance eligibility.  All policies are subject to the terms, conditions, limitations, definitions, and exclusions contained therein.

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West Bend Mutual Insurance