Worried your dog will destroy your possessions while you're out?
Your home insurance might not cover the damage. Read on to find out more.

Insure Your Home Against Pet Damage

Those of us with pets all know that the furry addition to our household immediately becomes a part of the family. However, they can cause serious damage - both in our own home or in someone else’s if we aren’t careful.

Unlike with children, most insurance policies are very unlikely to cover accidental damage caused around the home by pets - even if you take out extra cover. So you need to be on the ball and read the small print so you know where you stand.

In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to look out for when taking out insurance to cover damage caused by pets and what you can do to minimise damage before it happens, as well as what may be covered in other scenarios (such as damage to your home caused by wild animals).

In this guide:

Does my home insurance cover pet damage?

Many standard insurance policies include accidental damage cover for certain items (e.g. electrical equipment) but not furnishings or other items. You can also pay to get extended cover on certain valuable items (e.g. a valuable vase) to insure it against accidental damage from you or your child.

However, many insurers will not cover accidental damage caused by pets. Some insurers do claim to cover such incidents, but there are often many exclusions for the kinds of damage typically caused by pets. For example, fouling, tearing, chewing, and scratching.

It’s crucial that you read the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy to get an understanding of what is covered when it comes to accidental damage caused by pets, as well as the exclusions that apply.

What about damage caused by my pet to other people’s property?

There are certain policies available that do offer protection in the event that your pet causes accidental damage to someone else’s property. These policies come at an extra premium, but often carry so many exclusions that they aren’t really worth it.

For example, some policies may cover you in the event that your cat scratches someone else’s furniture and you are made to pay for repairs by the homeowner, but won’t cover you if your cat fouls on the furniture.

You are also unlikely to be covered in the event that your pet was being looked after by a friend or relative in their home.

As always, read the small print and make sure you understand all the exclusions before you take out a policy with an insurer.

What if another animal causes damage inside my home?

When it comes to animal damage to your home, your pets aren’t the only possible culprits. Other intruding animals, including insects or vermin, can wreak havoc on your home and its contents - with birds falling down chimneys being a very common occurrence.

Your existing policy may cover the damage caused by animal intruders if you’ve bought accidental damage cover as part of your package. However, if you haven’t opted for accidental damage cover, then most typical home insurance policies won’t pay out for vermin damage. So in the event that a fox manages to find its way into your home and ruins your sofa, you won’t be able to claim unless you’ve paid for the additional accidental damage cover.

Will I be covered under my buildings insurance policy?

It may be possible that you could make a claim on your buildings insurance if a non-domestic animal damages the structure of your property. If, for example, a bird flew into one of your windows and broke it, you may be able to make a claim on your buildings insurance policy.

Would I be covered under my pet insurance policy?

No. Pet insurance policies cover the bills associated with the medical treatment of your pet and won’t cover damage caused to your home or personal belongings.

Having said this, some policies may help with your pet’s behavioural issues - so this may help to curtail any disposition they may have towards causing damage around the home.

How can I prevent my pet causing damage to my home?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So if you can stop your pet from causing any potential damage to your home, you’ll save yourself the headache of having to make a claim (or fork out for the repairs yourself).

If you have a dog with behavioural problems, it could be worth looking into getting them trained to help calm them down. However, if you have a cat, this may not be an option as cats generally answer to no one but themselves…

Another trick is to make sure your pet always has some form of stimulation so they don’t take out their boredom on your possessions. For cats, you can make sure that they have a scratching post and their own bed, as well as spraying your furniture with animal repellent to discourage them from being near damageable items.