You have a pet. You rent your home. If both of these statements describe you, then you have two good reasons to get renters insurance: First, it safeguards your property and second, it protects you, if your pet harms someone.

Renters insurance gives valuable protection to anyone who rents their home. After experiencing a fire, theft or other covered risk, renters insurance can help you get back on your feet again. But renters insurance also offers other protections that are especially important for pet owners.

The Link Between Responsible Pet Ownership and Renters Insurance

Owning a pet can be expensive. Making sure you have money set aside for vet bills and other expenses is a priority, which means you don’t want to have to spend your savings to replace your household items after something goes wrong. Renters insurance can help with this, but that’s not the only reason it’s a good idea for pet owners.

Renters insurance also provides important liability coverage that protects you against lawsuits. For example, if someone falls in your home and decides to sue, your renters insurance policy will protect you. Likewise, if your dog bites someone, the pet liability portion of your renters insurance policy may protect you against any resulting lawsuit.

Dog Bites: A Surprisingly Common Occurrence

A dog is a man’s best friend, right? You love your pet, and you don’t think it would ever attack anyone. Unfortunately, even a good dog can bite under certain circumstances. Maybe the dog is startled or scared. Maybe it’s not feeling well. Maybe someone steps on its paw, or a child yanks its tail. If the dog responds by biting, you could be on the hook for medical expenses.

It happens a lot. A CDC study found that 4.7 million dog bites occurred in the United States in a single year, and 800,000 of those bites required medical care.

Medical care may involve cleaning the wound and treating infection. The patient may need a tetanus shot or even vaccination against rabies. Some bites may require reconstructive plastic surgery. The costs can add up quickly, and many dog bite victims sue the dog’s owner.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, of all the money paid out in homeowners liability claims in 2017, more than one-third was the result of a dog bite or other dog-related injury. The average dog bite claim was $37,051.

Many renters insurance policies provide pet liability coverage for dog bites, although certain breeds and dogs with a known history of biting may be excluded. Some policies may also provide protection for injuries caused by other pets, such as cats, and for damage that pets cause to other people’s property. Always read your policy carefully to understand what is and is not covered.

Protect Yourself and Your Pooch

Everyone who rents a home should have renters insurance, but if you have a dog or other pet, this coverage is especially important. Learn more and get a quote.