If you come home to find the family pooch chewing through the leg of your prized antique chair, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to be able to claim for pet damage if you only have standard home insurance.
A very limited number of insurers offer cover that includes accidental damage caused by pets, but the vast majority don’t.
Why get accidental damage cover for pets?
Accidental damage is generally included as standard in more expensive policies, and is there to protect your home’s contents from unintentional events such as breakage and spillage.
But if you want your policy to include pets, you’re going to have to seek out one of the few insurers who will extend cover to include our furry friends.
It can be worth it. Recent industry figures showed that last year pets such as dogs, cats and rabbits were responsible for an average of nearly £700 worth of damage.
Usually you have to request what’s known as ‘extended’ accidental damage for a pet or pets to be included. It many cost you more, but may be worth it if you have an unruly pet that’s prone to causing chaos and problems!
What’s included and what’s excluded
Policies the include pets should cover your for an animal knocking something over, causing spillages, chewing, scratching and generally damaging things with their paws, teeth and claws.
You should also be covered for third party liability; so if your dog attacks and injures someone, any damages that you’re deemed liable to pay (which could run into the hundreds of thousands) will be covered.
However, as pets are so unpredictable, even if they’re well trained, there are plenty of pet behaviours which will be excluded.
Here are the major exclusions and things to look out for when considering extended accidental damage:
– Low damage limits – Maximum claims for damage by pets can be set very low, and generally won’t exceed £1,000.
– Vomiting, fouling (defecating) or urinating – As such actions are highly common among our four-legged friends, they’re nearly always excluded.
– Home alone – If a pet is left on its own at home, without an owner or other adult present, you may find a claim won’t stand.
– Damage to cars – Again, if a pet is left unattended in a car, and goes berserk, it’s likely the claimant will be seen as acting negligently and a claim won’t stand.
-Age of your pet – If your dog or cat is under a certain age, usually 6 to 8 weeks old, any damage it causes will be excluded.
– Pet type – There are plenty of breeds, especially for dogs such as American pit bull terriers, which will be excluded.
Preventing pet damage
Owners are expected to take reasonable, on-going measures to prevent their pets doing damage.
Even if you don’t want to go to the effort and expense of training your dog to a high standard of behaviour, you might want to consider keeping you pets occupied and happy with chew toys, scratch posts, regular walks and companionship.
Our dedicated customer service team is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 15 November 2013