Americans spent a record-breaking $95.7 billion on their pets in 2019, so there is no question that we truly love our animals. But pets are legally considered property, not members of the family, so what does that mean when it comes to insurance? 

Are pets covered under homeowners insurance? 
Pets are covered under your homeowners insurance, but not in the way you would expect. While your homeowners insurance policy is designed to protect you financially in the event of damage to your property, your pets aren’t covered the same way your couch or your television are covered under your policy. 

Homeowners insurance covers pets as a liability. If your pet bites someone or damages their property, your homeowners insurance will cover that through the liability portion of your policy. If your pet is harmed or falls ill, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover their medical bills. There are pet insurance policies available to help cover medical costs for your furry companion, but that is a separate policy from your homeowners coverage. There are some companies that offer pet insurance endorsements on your homeowners insurance policy, so check with our experts at Goosehead Insurance if that type of coverage is right for you. 

It is important to note that some insurance policies have breed specific exclusions. If you have a breed that insurance companies have deemed too aggressive, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers, you might have a little more trouble finding an insurance policy that will cover your dog. 

Does homeowners insurance cover pet damage? 
Although your liability coverage will pay for damages your pet causes to other people or their property, the same cannot be said for damages your pet causes to your own belongings. In fact, most insurance policies exclude damage caused by animals. Whether your dog chewed a hole through your drywall or carpenter bees destroyed your roof, the odds are good that damage won’t be covered under your homeowners insurance. 

Does homeowners insurance cover pet injuries? 
In most instances, pet injuries are not covered by your homeowners insurance. If your pet injures someone else’s pet they might have a legitimate claim against your liability coverage, but that is the only situation in which a pet injury might be covered. If you are concerned about having coverage in the event that your pet is injured you can speak with our insurance experts here at Goosehead Insurance to help you find the pet insurance policy that is right for you.  

Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites off property?  
If your dog bites someone from outside of your household your liability portion of your home policy will cover the cost, even if the bite didn’t happen on your property. If you are walking your dog and it bites your neighbor, your insurance would cover the associated costs, including medical costs for your neighbor and legal costs for you if the situation ends up in court. 

However, your policy does not cover dog bites if they happen to people who live inside your home. If your dog bites your child or your spouse that would be covered under your medical insurance, not your homeowners policy. 

How do you get homeowners insurance after a dog bite? 
In some cases, an insurance company will exclude damage caused by your dog after it has bitten someone. In other cases, insurance companies may drop your coverage after your dog has bitten someone. This is sometimes referred to as a “one bite rule”.  

However, a dog bite doesn’t mean you are completely uninsurable. There are some insurance companies that will gladly offer coverage to people after their dog has bitten someone, but you should expect your rates to reflect that increased risk. If you do have a dog that has bitten someone in the past you can reach out to an insurance expert for help finding insurance that will cover your dog. 

Do I have to add my dog to my homeowners insurance? 
If you do not add your dog to your homeowners insurance policy, they are not likely to cover any damages your dog causes in the future. Given that a dog bite could leave you liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other expenses, it isn’t worth saving a few dollars on your premium by not adding your dog to the policy. 

An insurance policy application has to be factual to be legally binding, so if you fail to disclose your dog on your application, your coverage may be denied in the event of a claim. Insurance carriers don't usually change rates based on whether or not you have a dog, but they will use the presence of your dog to choose whether or not to cover you. 

Does homeowners insurance cover me for rodent damage or termites? What about other animals? 
Almost every insurance company excludes property damage caused by animals, insects, or other creatures. Termites, carpenter bees, and other bugs are known to cause significant damage to your property, but this is almost always excluded from your coverage. Because these things aren’t covered by your insurance it is vital to take preventative measures and hire an exterminator at the first sign of damage. 

This isn’t just limited to bugs or household pets. While rare exceptions have been made, if you live in an area where bears, racoons, elk, or other animals might scratch your siding, break your windows, or otherwise wander into your home without your permission, you need to be aware that this damage isn’t likely to be covered by your insurance policy. 

Fun Fact: More than 3,800 companies and organizations have added Veterinary Pet Insurance (a Nationwide Insurance company) to their benefits portfolio, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Deloitte LLP, Delta Airlines, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, T-Mobile, UPS, and Xerox. 


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. You should not act or refrain from acting based on this information without first consulting a Goosehead licensed agent at service@goosehead.com. We disclaim all liability for actions taken or not taken by you based on the contents of this article which is provided "as is." Goosehead makes no representation that this content is error-free.