The American Pet Products Association reports that a majority of households in the US have at least one pet, but many of them do not have a pet insurance policy that could take care of their medical and grooming needs. As a renter, you may not need to invest in a separate pet insurance policy, though.
Out of all the pet owners in the US, 59.4% own a dog, 34.6% own cats, and the remaining own a range of exotic pets. Thankfully, pet insurance for renters may not only cater to cats and dogs but birds and a range of other exotic animals as well. If you have a pet, you should always consider going through the renter’s insurance policy before choosing a property to understand what your insurance covers and what you may have to pay on your own.
The idea is that the renter’s insurance should ideally cover almost every type of injury and property damage for your pet. In essence, this isn’t just insurance for your pet, but also for the property. In this article, we will take a closer look at what pet insurance is for renters and the potential benefits that you (and perhaps the landlord) can reap from it.
What is Pet Insurance for Renters?
Essentially, renters’ insurance for pets will cover any damage to the property or those around that your pet may cause. This means that if your pet decides to rip up the drywall for some reason or accidentally hurts someone visiting the property, the pet insurance will cover it. But how does it benefit you?
Renters Insurance for pets also covers any health expenses for your pet to make sure that it is in good health and not a threat to the property or those around it. This may include vet checkups or emergency surgery for almost any type of pet. Of course, the more exotic your pet is, the higher your premiums will be.
This means that renters’ insurance not only covers you against any damage to your property but also covers any health implications and injuries that your pet and your stuff may suffer.
Understanding The Difference Between Renters Insurance & Pet Insurance
It is common to mistake pet insurance for renters’ insurance if you are not careful enough. Pet health insurance policy and renters’ insurance policy are two very different policies and therefore offer different types of liability coverage. These policies are both designed to cover different forms of damage. Let’s take a closer look at the two.
What is Pet Insurance?
The concept of pet health insurance policies is quite straightforward; it includes covering a wide range of pet health liabilities, including many elective and emergency procedures. The goal is to reduce the burden of expensive treatments when they become dire, and in turn, you pay a small premium every month.
Coverage options vary with respect to the policy you opt for. For example, many plans may not cover pre-, while others may not cover alternative care (acupuncture, chiropractic procedures, neutering or spaying, and more). There are also some all-inclusive plans that cover almost every type of service and therefore have higher premiums.
Pet insurance plans are much like human healthcare plans and have tiered coverage. Pet owners decide whether they want to invest in pet insurance or not and what the insurance covers.
What is Renters Insurance?
Renters insurance is, in essence, pet liability coverage. It includes pet liability coverage against personal property and damage to others’ property or health because of your pet. Insurance companies deal with your landlord directly and the cost of premiums is usually added up to the rent or maintenance charges pet owners have to pay.
The policy helps deal with the potential liability exposure that your pet introduces as a renter. For example, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are over 4.5 million dog bites every year. You may end up having to pay damages as well as for their medical treatment against the dog bites.
As a renter, if there is a dog bit instance, the chances are that, depending on your renter’s insurance policy, the medical payments and damage will be paid directly by the insurance provider. You will only need to continue making insurance premium payments.
What Sort of Pet Liability Coverage Does Renters Insurance Offer?
In most instances, renters’ insurance policies offer protection against property- and injury-related pet liability. If you have a pet, renters’ insurance is a straightforward way to cover your legal risk in case your pet ever causes injuries or property damage to other people.
Apart from dog bites, you may be protected against cat scratches, macaw injuries, snake bites, insect infestations, and a range of exotic pets’ damage as a tenant. Individual renters’ insurance policy can also be acquired directly by the tenant, hence improving the tenant-landlord relationship.
Renter’s Liability Insurance Coverage
You can expect your renters’ insurance policy to offer a wide range of pet liability insurance, depending on the insurance companies you choose to go with. Normally, these include:
Personal Property Insurance
This clause usually covers any home content and personal belonging liability coverage.
General Liability Insurance
Also known as general pet liability insurance clause, this liability coverage includes any damages you or your family members have to pay as a result of your pet’s activities.
Additional Liability Insurance
This pet liability coverage includes any expenses needed to create a livable environment in your home/apartment as a renter. Insurance covers these ‘additional living expenses’, including those associated with your temporary living space or motel. Of course, the deductible varies based on your premiums and between different insurance companies.
Coverage Limits of Your Renters Insurance Pet Liability
Your liability coverage limit will depend entirely on the insurance company you choose. It is important to note that renters’ insurance liability coverage is usually limited by different insurance coverage policies and insurance company rules (which vary from insurance company to company).
Usually, renters’ insurance policies allow you to choose your own limit. Pet liability insurance can range from anywhere between $50,000 to over $100,000. These costs include legal costs and/or damages. Once you have reached your limit, you will need to deal with the remaining liability yourself – perhaps out of your personal property.
Impact of Insurance Premiums
As mentioned above, the premiums, as well as the renter’s insurance coverage, will vary from pet owner to pet owner as well. Take dog breed, for example. Pit bulls and rottweilers are among the most dangerous breeds and may require more coverage. For this, you may have to pay higher renters’ insurance premiums as well.
Renters’ insurance companies usually consider the type of pet you have very carefully. When you purchase renters insurance, you should also consider the chances of a dog bite claim or risk of damage (and aggressiveness) your pet poses. Remember, a $100,000 renters’ insurance amount may seem too much, but it really isn’t for any major damage.
This is particularly true if a pet damages someone else’s property and still remains a threat to others. Normally, the average cost for damages and repair in a bite or minor injury is $35,258.14. However, if the incident is severe, your renters’ policy may not be enough to cover the damage.
Will My Renter’s Insurance Liability Policy Always Help Me?
Note that your liability policy may not always protect you. Your renters’ policy may only offer coverage in cases that relate to unforeseen damage only, i.e., damage that could not have been avoided, even with due care.
For example, assume there is a pre-existing condition that causes something as small as your pet tortoise to become overly aggressive. If you knew about it and yet did nothing to protect others or the property in general, renters’ insurance doesn’t cover the damage.
Exotic Pet Coverage
Furthermore, if your exotic pet has already damaged something and you did not try to reduce the extent of further damage (and your pet injures someone), there is a very good chance not only will there be no financial protection, but your typical premiums will also rise.
Similarly, not all pets are covered by base renters’ insurance plans. In some cases, you may need additional coverage for your rental property. Insurance companies may choose to pay part of the damage, legal fees, or legal expenses incurred without additional coverage or may make no payment at all (based on the policy’s limits).
How Much Does Renter’s Insurance Cost?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), renter’s insurance premiums have fallen by 0.6% recently. The cost of a pet insurance plan may vary between different companies and even an insurance agent. Depending on the pet covered, the average cost in the US is between $13 to $17 per month.
Different Plan Coverage
These basic plans may offer $30,000 to $100,000 against the renter’s insurance. Of course, as the amount and circumstances of insurance coverage you need increase, so will the typical insurance premiums. Take an umbrella policy, for instance. An umbrella policy may offer large deductibles against property damage liability, but will also cost between $35 to $100 per month.
While renters’ insurance is not required by law, it can immensely help when you are trying to protect yourself and your pet against liability or those around you.