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Accidental damage insurance for pets

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Own a dog or a cat? Find out whether your pet insurance covers you against accidental damage with this guide.

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If you own a dog or a cat, you’re probably already aware of how unpredictable these furry family members can be. From chewed furniture to claw marks on the carpet (why oh why do dogs scratch the floor?!), our pets can get up to all kinds of mischief when we’re not looking.

While it’s great to have animals around the house, the damage that they cause from time to time can be a strain on those who don’t have adequate savings to cover the cost of repairs or replacements.

Some people assume that their pet insurance or home contents insurance will be able to cover the costs of damage caused by pets, but this is rarely the case. While many home insurance policies include accidental damage as part of their cover, this often excludes damage caused by pets, such as chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling.

However, there are some instances when accidental damage caused by your pet can be covered by your insurer. Keep reading to find out which situations might be covered by your pet insurance, and learn some nifty tips to avoid your animals causing expensive damage.

What is accidental damage?

Home contents insurance often includes cover for accidental damage such as spillages and breakages, but this typically excludes damage caused by pets.

This is partly because it’s impossible for insurers to accurately predict the likelihood of an animal causing damage – while some dogs are well trained and impeccably behaved, others have an appetite for destruction and regularly cause damage to their owners’ property.

If you have a pet and are worried about the cost of damages to your home, it’s a good idea to set aside some of your own money to cover this possibility. Avoid splashing out on specialist policies that promise to cover pet-incurred damage to your home, as the insurance premium is likely to be excessively high.

You’re better off looking for a pet insurance policy that provides essential cover for things like illness and injury – that way, your insurance cost will remain affordable and provide cover when you need it most.

Accidental damage to other people’s property

Some pet insurance policies can cover the cost of accidental damage caused by your pet to other people’s property.

For example, Admiral’s Premier and Premier Plus plans pay up to the benefit limit shown in your policy schedule if your pet causes damage to someone else’s property (providing that they are not a member of your immediate family, a relative, employee, guest or another person who is responsible for your pet).

There are some exclusions: many insurers (including Admiral) will not cover the cost of accidental damage caused by your pet vomiting, defecating or urinating on another person’s property. Pet damage to another person’s motor vehicle and its contents cannot be covered. And if your pet damages someone’s property while left unattended, you will be responsible for covering the costs.

Pet damage to rented accommodation is unlikely to be covered by your insurer, so if you plan on renting with pets, make sure you discuss this possibility with your landlord. Some landlords refuse to accommodate tenants with animals for this reason, while others may require you to cover the cost of damage to their property if you’re renting with a dog or cat.

How to avoid accidental damage caused by pets

Preventing pets from damaging your home will save you from having to fork out for costly repairs and replacements. Here are some handy tips to deter Fido and Felix from running amok in your newly furnished living room.

Invest in professional dog training – Puppy obedience classes will pay for themselves if they prevent your dog from damaging expensive possessions. They also give you the chance to bond with your canine companion by teaching you how to communicate clearly with them.

Use anti-chew spray – Bitter-tasting sprays can be used to deter dogs and other pets from chewing your furniture. Make sure whichever product you’re using is stain-free and harmless for pets to ingest.

Exercise your pets – One of the main causes of pets misbehaving and causing damage at home is restlessness due to lack of exercise. Dogs should be walked at least once a day. Different breeds have different needs, so take the time to learn about your pet’s exercise requirements to ensure that they remain happy and healthy.

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