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There are three components to homeowners insurancedwelling coveragepersonal property coverage, and personal liability coverage.

Personal liability coverage protects homeowners if their pet injures someone or damages someone’s property. If your pet bites you or damages your property, that is not covered. Also, exotic pets and certain dog breeds are typically excluded from coverage in either situation.

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Does homeowners insurance cover pet damage and liability?

If you have homeowners insurance, pet bites are covered under your policy’s personal liability coverage. However, some homeowners insurance companies will not offer coverage for certain dog breeds and exotic pets. 

According to Wise Insurance Group, most insurers consider a pet to be exotic if:

  • A permit is required to buy the pet
  • You need to modify your home or yard to contain the pet
  • The pet is a hybrid of a domesticated and non-domesticated animal (like wolf and cat hybrids)
  • The animal is found naturally in the wild

Pet liability coverage is not pet insurance. Pet insurance is a health plan for your pet. Pet liability covers damage or injury your pet causes to someone. Also, damage to you or your personal property by your pet will not be covered.

There are limits to standard personal liability coverage depending on your policy and insurance carrier, usually $100,000.

Consider an umbrella policy for extra liability coverage

An umbrella policy is additional liability coverage that’s available as an add-on rider to your renters insurance. Umbrella coverage kicks in after you have used up your personal liability coverage limit.

A million-dollar umbrella policy costs between $150 and $300 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, the Institute notes that most carriers require renters to have at least $300,000 in personal liability coverage before selling them an umbrella policy.

Canine liability and exotic pet insurance is an option 

If you have a restricted dog breed and cannot get an umbrella policy to cover your pet, you might consider canine liability insurance. Canine liability insurance offers coverage if your dog bites or attacks someone. It’s a separate policy that is helpful if your renters insurance doesn’t offer coverage for your breed. 

If you have an exotic pet, X-Insurance offers exotic pet liability insurance.

How to file a liability insurance claim for a pet bite or damage

If your pet bites someone, you should notify your homeowners insurance company immediately. Some states have laws that if a pet bites, the owner is strictly liable. 

You want to make sure your insurance company is on notice in case a lawsuit is filed against you. Failure to timely notify your insurance company can result in denying your claim — in which case you would be personally responsible for costs.

Also, if you get an exotic pet without approval from your homeowners insurance company, your claim may be denied and you may be dropped as a customer.Ronda LeeAssociate Editor, Insurance

Ronda Lee is an associate editor for insurance at Personal Finance Insider covering life, auto, homeowners, and renters insurance for consumers. Before joining Business Insider, she was a contributing writer at HuffPost with featured articles in politics,…Read More