What to Know About Insurance as a Pet Owner

As a real estate services provider, we know keeping your family secure and safe is top priority and that includes your four-legged friends. It’s no secret that pets can influence our way of life and plans. In fact, surveys as early as 2017 found 33 percent* of millennial home buyers decided to buy a house because of their dog.

Stewart Insurance client relations representative Sonya Cadriel shared some insight into what to consider when preparing your insurance plan with your pet in mind. Read our Q&A with her below:

Q: Are pets covered in homeowners insurance?

A: “I will start off by saying that one of the most common misunderstandings among homeowners is that all home policies are the same,” says Sonya. Insurance coverage varies on the type of policy, for example a homeowner's policy when the home is occupied by the homeowner versus a dwelling policy for homes that are occupied by a tenant, etc. Even within the type of policy, coverage can vary. “Insurance carriers often take the policy form and will amend the coverages to add or exclude coverages and submit to the State Board of Insurance for approval,” reminds Sonya.

“Stewart Insurance has partners that have the option to add pet insurance to their home and auto insurance policy. Generally, the coverage would apply if the pet is injured or dies as a result of a covered loss, a.k.a. peril. This coverage is different from a Liability loss that would provide coverage if your pet injures a third party.”

Q: Do I have to tell my insurance broker if I have a dog?

A: “Yes, you should tell your agent that you have a dog and if there is a bite history,” says Sonya. “There are specific breeds that are considered ‘unacceptable’ and carriers will not insure a property with this kind of liability exposure, though this is unfortunate and very much a stereotype for these dog breeds. The breeds of dogs vary for each carrier, however the ones we see most often are Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Bull Terriers, Rottweiler, Doberman Pinscher, etc.”

Sonya notes this is a question that your agent should be asking when looking at options for you. “In addition, any type of pet should be disclosed including exotic pets, for example reptiles, big cats, etc. in addition to hooved animals.”

Q: What kind of insurance would cover accidental damage caused by my pet?

A: “I’m not aware of an independent insurance policy that you can purchase that covers your pet for damages it causes [but] homeowners personal liability coverage would cover damages or injuries caused by your pet,” says Sonya. She notes that the Personal Liability Coverage does not extend to the named insured, insured’s property or residents living in the home.

Q: Does Stewart offer pet insurance?

A: “Yes! We have a partner that offers Pet Insurance with different options for coverage including Accident & Illness with an option to add Wellness Visits,” says Sonya.

We thank Sonya and everyone at Stewart Insurance for sharing this detailed overview of insurance coverage when it comes to pets. It’s important to keep in mind, these answers vary depending on the type of policy and the insurance carrier that wrote it. We recommend you reach out to your insurance provider for clearer guidance on how to best cover your needs.

Interested in learning more about Stewart Insurance? Visit stewartinsurance.com to see what we offer and to connect with our team to build your plan.

Want to dive deeper into your insurance needs? Here are some articles you may be interested in:

What Water Damage Coverages Should You Consider?

Review These Four Insurance Coverages Before Seasonal Storms Begin

*Survey conducted by Harris Poll.