Does my home insurance cover pet damage?
If you’ve ever owned a dog, cat or any other kind of domestic pet, you’ll know that it usually doesn’t take long for them to become part of the family.
Unfortunately, many pets make themselves at home a bit too much, often causing significant damage to our properties and possessions by chewing, scratching or other kinds of antisocial behaviour.
But are accidents caused by pets – yours or other people's – covered by the accidental damage section of your home contents insurance policy?
Here’s what you need to know.
Can I claim on my insurance for pet damage?
Standard contents insurance policies often include some cover for accidental damage – such as electrical equipment – but won't typically cover accidental damage to other items or furnishings.
You can usually pay extra to extend your accidental damage cover so that if, for example, if your child accidentally damages a valuable vase, your insurer will replace it.
However, even though some insurers say they will cover accidents caused by domestic animals, there are often exclusions for damage caused by pets scratching, chewing, tearing up and fouling.
Before taking out a home insurance policy, it’s therefore vital to read the small print to see whether accidental damage caused by your pets will be covered and which exclusions apply.
Will my home contents insurance cover accidental damage caused by other animals?
It is not just your pets that can cause damage to your property and its contents.
Unwanted visitors such as insects and vermin can also damage your home and its contents, with birds falling down the chimney among the most common problems reported by home insurance customers.
If you’ve bought accidental damage cover, then your policy may cover damage caused by animal intruders.
However, if you haven’t added accidental damage cover to your policy, most standard home insurance policies won’t pay out for damage caused by vermin. So, for example, if a fox got into your home and ruined your carpet, you could only generally claim under the contents element of your home insurance if you’ve paid extra for accidental damage cover.
Can I claim for pet damage on my buildings insurance?
You may be able to claim on your buildings insurance if animals that are not domestic pets cause damage to the structure of your property.
Squirrels gnawing away at your wooden front doorframe, for example, or a bird flying into and breaking one of your windows, could result in a successful buildings insurance claim.
How do I stop my pet causing damage?
The best way to avoid having to make an insurance claim – or pay for repairs yourself – is to prevent your pet from causing damage.
If you’ve got a dog with any antisocial habits, it may be worth investing in some proper training to help stamp out this behaviour.
Cat owners often have a more difficult job on their hands because, let's face it, cats are a law unto themselves.
However, steps such as spraying your furniture with animal repellent and ensuring your cat has a scratching post and its own bed can help to prevent it damaging your possessions.
Whether you have a dog, cat or any other type of pet living in your home, it’s also a good idea to ensure that they are regularly stimulated so they don't get bored.
Is animal damage covered under my pet insurance?
Pet insurance covers vets’ bills and the cost of medical treatment for your family pet. It does not cover damage they cause to your property.