Skip to main content
Contact Us:
Call to 877-831-4677

Does Renters Insurance Cover Pets? A Guide to Renters Insurance with Pets in Georgia 

Young female on the floor in her apartment with her puppy looking at her phone.

Your new puppy is the joy of your life. The love is a two-way street. Whatever she does can’t possibly be wrong. Of course, she likes to bite, but it’s more of a nibble. And she’ll grow out of it – right? She’s mostly potty trained, though she does have an accident now and then. And your puppy is small now, but the vet says that she’s going to get a lot bigger. 

Should any of that be a cause for concern while living in rented spaces? What if your pet causes injury or damage? Will renters insurance help you financially in the event something happens with your pet? 

So many good questions. Let’s start from the beginning. 

Why Do I Need Renters Insurance in the First Place? 

For starters, some Georgia landlords require renters insurance. And even if it’s not required, there are several reasons to get coverage. 

Flame or smoke damage, burst water pipes, weather events, theft, or vandalism could cost you thousands of dollars in the loss of your personal possessions. If you work from home, how long would it take you to get back to earning income if your phones, computers, and other valuable electronics were taken or destroyed? 

Renters insurance covers other rather odd situations too. For instance… if your off-site storage unit catches fire, or your unit is burglarized, you can file a claim. Renters insurance will also pay for temporary housing if damage shuts you out of your rented space for days, weeks, or months. 

The liability protection that’s a standard benefit helps protect your finances when someone is injured or suffers property loss in ways for which you’re at fault. 

That’s where your pet liability protection for renters may make an entrance. 

Pet-Related Costs Covered by Renters Insurance 

Your furry buddy provides you with unquestioning love, entertainment, and companionship. On the downside, your pet can also cause you a world of financial pain. 

For instance, even the calmest and most loveable pooch can bite someone when startled or frightened. When that happens, the situation can get expensive quickly. As of 2022, the average liability insurance claim for bites or other injuries caused by dogs was almost $65,000. 

This total takes in the medical costs of the injured party and legal costs incurred by the pet’s owner. Imagine coming up with that kind of cash outlay if you weren’t insured. 

So, does renters insurance cover pets? The pet liability benefits that come standard in your renters insurance policy provide financial protection when your dog, cat, or other pet injures someone else on or off the rented space or causes damage to another person’s property. 

So if your dog gets loose in the park and bites a jogger, or you visit friends and your furry little (or not so little) darling destroys a valuable set of dining room China with the wag of a tail, you can file a claim with your renters insurance company. 

Same if you throw a party and your admittedly clumsy dog accidentally knocks someone down the stairs who must be rushed to the hospital. In that case, your policy will help pay your friend’s medical bills. 

Or maybe the injured party isn’t that much of a friend. Suppose the injured party sues you for an attack or accidental injury caused by your animal. In that case, your pet liability coverage will also help with the legal costs, up to your coverage limits. This means your policy will help you with the possibly very high expense of hiring a lawyer and paying fines and court costs. 

Pet Liability Exclusions 

As stated, liability coverage protects the interests of others when your actions (or those of your pet, in this case) result in their injury or property damage. What liability coverage does not pay for is damage to yourself or your own property caused by your pet. 

This is also how liability insurance works in other lines of coverage. For instance, your liability auto insurance will only pay for the damage inflicted on other vehicles – not your own – if you’re at fault for a collision. 

Same thing if your pet is the party at fault. Let’s say you’ve lived for a few years in an apartment with a dog that tends to chew everything it can find when stressed out or left alone. So, it gnawed the wood trim, attacked the drapes, and turned your cell phone into a chew toy. 

Or maybe the love of your life isn’t quite as litter box-trained as you’d like to believe. Your cat leaves significant evidence of its weak bladder control throughout the apartment, and it’s even destroyed a laptop with a direct hit. 

Are you covered? Can you turn in damage claims and receive a settlement from your renters insurance company in these circumstances? Most likely not. That’s because your pet liability insurance protects others, not yourself. 

Cute little poodle with innocent expression with torn up cushions.

Restricted Breeds and How They Impact the Insurance Coverage 

Do standard renters insurance policies cover all breeds? Usually not. The list of excluded breeds varies by insurer, so this is a question you should ask your renters insurance agent. 

If your pet shares a bloodline with breeds that are restricted from pet liability insurance for renters, your dog’s actions won’t be covered. 

In examining risks and the costs of coverage, insurance underwriters have found that some breeds tend to be more destructive than others, whether due to temperament or size alone. Some have a greater tendency than other breeds to bite strangers or to otherwise cause damage. 

As you might imagine, insurers most often block notoriously aggressive breeds like Rottweilers, pit bulls and Doberman pinschers. But other breeds might be less obvious, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, Chow Chow and Mastiffs, among others. 

Also be warned: Your furry friend might find itself on the exclusion list even if it’s of a breed that is generally accepted by most renters insurance pet liability benefits. This could happen if your pet ever bit someone in the past and has a record as a vicious animal. If this is the case, you will have to be especially careful to keep your animal away from others, because your insurance company won’t have your back financially. 

Since not all insurance companies share the same standards and restrictions when it comes to the dog breeds they will or will not cover, you need to discuss all your pets with your renters insurance agent. It might also be possible to pay extra to have coverage added for a restricted breed. This is a related subject to discuss with your insurance agent. 

Your best option is usually to consult with an independent renters insurance agent. That’s because independent agents don’t just work for one insurance company. They sell policies for several insurers. So even if you own a dog breed that most insurers turn down for coverage, your independent agent might be able to present you with a policy from that one insurer that hasn’t blacklisted your pooch by breed. 

Your independent insurance agent can also show you other ways to stay on budget with your renters coverage. 

Comparing Pet Insurance and Renters Insurance 

The pet liability coverage in your renters insurance policy is not the same as pet insurance, though it sounds similar. The benefit in your standard renters insurance policy covers the damage or injury your pet might cause to other people or property. Pet insurance, on the other hand, offers medical benefits to help pay for the veterinary bills you’ll receive if your pet gets sick or injured. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Does Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bites? 

Dog bites may be covered under the personal liability section of your renters insurance. However, all policies have specific limitations and inclusions, so it’s important to read the fine print of your policy to confirm. 

What Types of Pets Are Excluded From Renters Insurance Coverage? 

Many insurance companies have exclusion lists for certain pets – especially dog breeds considered high liability risks and exotic pets. This varies from company to company. However, the lists often go beyond pit bulls and Rottweilers. 

Which Dog Breeds Raise Your Insurance Costs? 

Dogs that have a history of biting people may lead to higher insurance premiums if your insurance company continues to cover them at all. This factor is less breed-dependent and is more about the dog’s behavioral history. 

Does Renters Insurance Cover Pet Damage? 

Property damage caused by pets may be covered by your renters insurance policy. It’s important to review the details of your policy with your insurance provider, however, to confirm what coverage is available to you. 

Affordable Renters Insurance that Protects You from Pet Liability 

Pet liability coverage is only one reason of many (though, depending on your pet, it could be an important one) to get renters insurance if you don’t own the place you call home. Your pet is the love of your life, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be destructive to others and your own pocketbook. 

Consider also, that for all of the financial protection your renters insurance provides, you can typically get this coverage in Georgia for about $25 a month. You can lower the cost further by accepting a higher deductible or lower coverage limit. That’s a lot of peace of mind for a relatively small investment. 

Just pick up your phone and discuss your options and your budget with your independent renters insurance agent. Call Southern Harvest at (877) 831-4677, or find a Southern Harvest insurance office in Georgia near you. You can also get a renters insurance quote online with pet liability coverage built right in.