As a renter with pets, you know the struggle of finding an apartment with a landlord willing to accept your little friends. Some cities, like Philadelphia, have more pet-friendly apartments than others, but even in these cities finding the right place can be a struggle. Because pets can cause damage to the apartment or lead to accidents involving your guests, it’s best to be covered in all situations. You should think about investing in an insurance policy, so let’s take it step by step and look at what options you have.
What does renters insurance cover?
As a renter, you are given the option to purchase a specific type of insurance to cover damage done to the main structure of your rental and to items inside it, either by you or due to outside causes. There are many reasons to take out such a policy, including coverage for your personal belongings and temporary housing in case the apartment becomes uninhabitable.
Renters insurance usually provides for three broad categories of coverage: personal property damage, personal liability and additional living expenses. Damage produced by natural causes such as hail, fire, lightning, wind or water damage is normally covered, as are accidents, like explosions, vandalism and theft. If you live in a region with more frequent natural disasters, such as the risk of hurricanes for apartments in Florida, it’s best to invest in renters insurance.
How are my pets covered by renters insurance?
As a pet owner, you might be more interested in getting an insurance, as it can cover some damage done by your pet. Still, you have to check the terms and agreement when purchasing a renters policy, because not all of them have pet coverage. Even if yours does, check every clause carefully, because there are exclusions, such as certain dog breeds, exotic animals, or pet-related events and accidents.
Your pets are usually going to be listed under liability because they are not considered a personal belonging. Under this category, you will probably be reimbursed if someone is hurt by your pet in your apartment or if your pet damages the property. However, it is unlikely that renters insurance will cover usual damage, such as scratched furniture or stained carpets.
Depending on what pet you have, consider the potential accidents that might occur, both the likelihood of their appearance and the severity of them. You should choose the coverage limit based on these factors as well as the history of accident and your personal risk tolerance. Do the research beforehand. Check for how much it would cost to treat a possible injury caused by your pet and assess the items in the apartment that might be subject to damage.
What alternatives are there to renters insurance?
Some renters insurance types might not cover anything related to a pet, and in this case you should look into pet insurance. This is especially helpful if your four-legged friend is a dog, because certain breeds are completely excluded from renters insurance. Of course, pet insurance reimburses you on such things as veterinary bills and costs related to the pet’s health, so this is necessary in the cases of accidents or natural disasters, when your pet could get hurt.
If there is no coverage for pets in your renters insurance, you can always purchase a personal umbrella policy. This works like a supplement, providing extra coverage for whatever is not listed as personal liability. Umbrella policies are especially recommended for owners of aggressive or restricted dog breeds, like pit bulls, mastiffs, rottweilers, German shepherds, and others. A personal umbrella policy will kick in at the moment when you reach the limits of the renters insurance liability, so even if you have pet coverage but it’s limited, the umbrella policy will cover up the rest. If you decide to make this investment, make sure that the specific risks not listed in your initial insurance policy are covered by the umbrella policy, since these can be quite expensive. You can inquire for offers and discounts on bundles of renters insurance and umbrella policies.
Having a pet is pure joy, but it's also an important responsibility. You need to be aware of the additional costs they can represent and prepare in advance for anything that might happen. It’s important to let the landlord know from the beginning about your pets. As for the rest, investing in a renters insurance policy — perhaps with a personal umbrella policy — will save you a lot of headache and worry for what your non-human friends might do.
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