Pet Damage At Home: What You Should Know

Naughty dog near overturned houseplant on carpet

21 Oct Pet Damage At Home: What You Should Know

When adding a new pet to the family, there are numerous things to consider: from food bowls and pet beds, chew toys and collars, to vet visits, vaccinations and pet training. But one of the most important considerations is pet-proofing the home to minimise pet damage, because even the most well-trained pet can behave badly, causing significant damage to carpets, walls and furniture. Here are three things you should know about pet damage at home.

1. Most house insurance policies don’t cover pet damage

Having bought a new leather sofa and given your cat strict instructions to stay off it, imagine your frustration when you return home from work and it’s been used to sharpen her claws! Or what about the giant hole the dog has dug up in your landscaped garden? Or the damage to the carpet after a toilet training disaster? Or the designer curtains that have been ripped and will need to be replaced?

Unfortunately, when it comes to pet damage in the home, most house insurance policies won’t cover the cost of repairs or replacement to items damaged by pets. Even with an add-on to your house insurance cover, insurance policies will generally exclude damage caused by pets.

From an insurance perspective, pets are considered to be under the policy holder’s control, so any damage they cause may be interpreted as damage caused by the policy holder. Which means the cost of pet damage will need to be covered personally. However, you may be able to get cover against pet damage on personal belongings under a contents insurance policy, so talk to your Insurance Adviser if this is something you’d like to know more about.

2. Liability cover could help pay for pet damage to other people’s property

Pet owners know that even the calmest of pets can behave unpredictably at times. For whatever reason, something triggers a reaction and they behave out of character, perhaps chewing, scratching, biting or even running away. When that happens, there may be some pet damage to other people’s property, leaving the pet owner with costs to cover.

When your pet causes damage to someone else’s property, it’s reassuring to know that many house insurance policies offer liability coverage, which could help pay for some of these costs. So if your dog runs into the road and causes a car crash, or you have to defend yourself against liability because of damage your pet caused, you may not have to foot the bill yourself. Check with your Insurance Adviser to find out more about liability cover.

3. It is possible to minimise pet damage

Most pet owners budget for extra costs such as vet bills, pet food, and pet insurance when adding a pet to the home. But many don’t give much thought to the cost of repairs to items damaged by pets. While it may not be possible to have pets at home without incurring some damage (after all, accidents can happen!), there are things you can do to minimise damage by pets and protect your home and contents.

  • Regularly exercising your pet keeps them stimulated and can help avoid destructive behaviour that’s often brought on by boredom.
  • Professional training helps improve behaviour, alleviate stress, and avoid conflict in your pet.
  • An anti-chew spray could discourage pets from chewing on carpets, curtains and furniture.
  • Creating a safe play space for pets means they have their own area in which to feel settled and secure.
  • Putting away fragile items that could be damaged or pose a risk to pets helps avoid unnecessary accidents.
  • Avoid lighting scented candles and wax melts as these could be knocked over and cause further damage.
  • Regular health check-ups at your vet could uncover underlying health issues causing your pet to behave badly. If your pet causing damage seems sudden, get them to the vet to check if that ‘abnormal’ behaviour is the result of a physical problem your pet is experiencing. To help ease the financial stress associated with vet care, our Personal Lending team at Max Loans can assist with an Emergency Loan to spread the payments over an affordable time period, and ensure your furry friend gets the health care they need!

Protecting what matters most to you

When life’s unexpected events happen, it’s helpful to know you have the right amount of insurance cover in place to help cover the cost of repairs or replacement. If you’re unsure whether you have enough insurance cover for your house insurance or contents insurance, get in touch with an Insurance Adviser at Max Insurances. As one of New Zealand’s leading insurance advisory firms, Max Insurances can help you compare insurance NZ wide to find exactly the right insurance cover to fit your needs.

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