Not all home insurance policies will cover damage caused by your pet. It can be really hard to work out whether a clawed sofa or a chewed up carpet might be covered by looking through your policy documents, but we're here to help.
We've rounded up the best home insurance policies for damage and liability for pet owners:
Read on to learn about other insurers who can cover pet damage and the exclusions that might apply.
We've looked at the insurers in our list of the best home insurance companies to see which will cover damage caused by your pet to your buildings and contents and what public liability cover they offer.
The research was conducted via telephone, online chat, and by checking policy wording.
Does my contents insurance cover damage caused by my dog?
Cover for contents damaged by pets varies across insurers.
Many will say they cover accidents caused by domestic animals but will have exclusions such as chewing, scratching, tearing up or fouling in the home, which are most of the ways a pet can damage property.
Companies that do cover all the ways a cat or dog can break things may only offer it if you buy a policy with their higher levels of cover or buy extended accidental damage cover.
One insurer told us its standard policy wouldn’t cover biting, scratching, chewing and fouling, and we’d need to upgrade to obtain full cover. But, if the dog were to knock something over with its tail, it would be covered.
Home insurers that cover pet damage
We contacted the home insurers listed in our guide to the best home insurers in May 2018, to ask if they covered damage in the home caused by domestic pets.
Saga does cover damage caused by chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling under its Premier policy, but its Essential policy specifies that it does not cover pet damage.
This is the same for buildings cover. Saga will cover pet damage under its Premier but not under its Essential policy.
LV= home insurance covers home entertainment systems as part of its standard policy, so if your dog knocks over the TV, it could be covered. However, there are some exclusions.
To cover all items in your home you can purchase LV’s Extended Accidental Cover, which will cover damage through chewing or biting. Remember, this add-on will be subject to terms and conditions so it's important to read your policy documents or call the insurer if you're concerned.
M&S Bank home insurance will cover chewing, scratching and fouling under its Premier policy. M&S's Essential or Standard policies don't offer this cover.
Buildings will be covered by Premier, should your pet damage a part of your home’s structure, such as a door.
Insurers who cover some type of pet damage
There are other insurers from our best home insurance list that will cover some pet damage but with exclusions.
In addition, you may need to purchase an accidental cover add on.
Direct Line offers three policy types: Home Insurance, Home Insurance Plus and Select Premier.
According to a Direct Line spokesperson, its policies will cover pet damage if Accidental Damage is purchased. However, its policies exclude damage caused by tearing, scratching, chewing, vomiting, fouling or denting by a pet – which doesn't leave much.
Barclays will cover your dog for accidents such as wagging its tail too hard and knocking the TV over. This is available as extra cover that can be added during the quote process.
But again, Barclays won’t cover your pet for chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling.
You won't be able to cover your buildings for chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling. However, we were advised that if a pet causes other damage, such as breaking a glass window, it could be considered.
Accidental damage to someone else's home
If your dog damages someone else’s home then your pet insurance may cover this. The following pet insurers will cover your dog for accidental damage:
More Than pet insurance will cover your pet for either £500 under their Basic cover, £1,000 under their Classic cover or £2,000 under their Premier cover.
John Lewis offer £250 of Accidental Damage under their Essential policy, £500 under their Plus policy and £750 under their Premier policy.
LV= will cover Accidental Damage under their Lifetime policy up to £750.
Animal Friends will cover your pet for £750 under their Prestige policy.
Dog liability cover on home insurance
All the insurers we contacted cover customers for personal liability as part of their occupiers and personal liability insurance cover, which is part of the contents insurance.
Cover is for incidents that occur in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man or Worldwide.
This means that if your pet attacks someone or causes an incident away from home, you’re covered for costs if there is any legal action taken against you.
For the cover to be valid you have to be a responsible pet owner. For example, if your dog is prone to biting you need to ensure it's wearing a muzzle.
The cover levels for liability are usually set at £2m, although Churchill and M&S offer £5m of cover on their Plus and Premier policies respectively.
All insurers said liability cover wouldn't be valid if the customer's dog is listed on the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) or the Dangerous Dogs (Northern Ireland) order 1983 or on any updates to that legislation.
Will my insurance cover my chewed up sofa and glasses?
Some insurers offer extended accidental cover, which should cover chewed up sofas and glasses. LV, M&S and Saga all offer extended cover that will cover some pet damage.
However, we suggest you check with your chosen insurer before you buy, just to be sure you’re covered.
Protecting your home from your pet can be a challenge, and because pet damage is so common, insurers try to protect themselves against the risk.
Always check the policy wording carefully, and if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, give them a call. Be prepared to shop around for the right insurance, even if you have to pay a little more.
We found that insurers tend to be specific about what they won't cover. For example, they may state they won't cover tearing, scratching, fouling or chewing, but they will cover damage caused by a wagging tail. If you're not sure, call your insurer.
If you're looking for liability insurance remember that your pet insurer may offer it as part of their package.
If you’re not too bothered about insuring your contents against your pet – then speak to your pet insurer about the liability aspect.
ManyPets pet insurance has liability cover in all of its dog insurance policies.
Damage to the home caused by naughty pets
Research published by The Metro in 2016 revealed that Rolo, a miniature Dachshund, caused over £1,000 of damage to his owners' home.
Misdemeanours included munching bin bags, cushions, a door, hair straighteners and a weight bench.
And it's not just dogs who get into hot water. Cats are just as bad. Molly, a cat from Northumberland, was crowned Britain's naughtiest pet in 2016.
Her antics included damaging sofas, a bed, a bannister and carpet – with the repair bill hitting £2,000.
In fact, it's suggested by the survey cited in the Daily Mail that pets cause billions of pounds of damage to homes every year. Cats are thought to be the most destructive, costing owners more in repairs, than dogs.