Life & Culture

Can I claim for puppy damage?

Dogs bring love to the home but often wreak havoc. Our expert explains why insurers are often unsympathetic


Loveable rogues: cute, but potentially expensive

Q I have just got a new labrador puppy and he has already succeeded in chewing through two pairs of slippers. Worse though, he has also soiled a rug and ruined the upholstery on my sofa. Can I claim on my home insurance for the damage?

A How lovely to get a new puppy and my favourite breed! But, unfortunately, pets, especially puppies, can be destructive. According to a recent survey by personal loan firm Novuna Personal Finance, three-quarters of pet owners have experienced pet-related damage at home, leading to an eye- watering repair bill of £627 million. It revealed dogs generate over £348 million in bills, while cats’ damage costs some £279 million. Half of pet owners suffered from soiled carpets and flooring damage, while chewed furniture was a headache encountered by a third.

Sadly, though, despite these costs, the answer to your question is no, you are unlikely to be covered. Standard home insurance excludes damage by pets. If you bought accidental damage as an extra add on then you may have cover, but it depends on your policy as many still exclude pets. For example Aviva specifically excludes: “Damage caused by chewing, scratching, tearing or fouling by domestic animals”, regardless of whether you buy just its standard cover or add accidental damage. Similarly Direct Line also excludes: “Tearing, scratching, chewing, vomiting, fouling, urinating or denting by any domestic animal,” on all its cover. However, accidental damage should cover you if your dog’s tail catches a wine glass for example and spills wine all over the sofa or carpet or he breaks a vase with these types of firms.

There are some pet-loving insurers though. LV= for example covers “furniture, fixtures or fittings ruined by your pet scratching, digging or chewing”, if you buy its full accidental damage cover as an add on. NFU Mutual also covers pet damage if you buy its Bespoke Home Insurance plan.

As a caveat, insurers whether they cover damage by your dog in your home or not, they won’t cover damage in someone else’s home. For that you need the public liability section of your pet insurance. Then if you take your new puppy on an outing and it decides to chew your friend’s table leg for example, you are covered for the cost of the damage.

The other bad news for pet owners is they increase the price of your insurance by around £25 a year according to comparison website It found an average person without a pet would pay £148 a year for their combined buildings and contents insurance, while the same person owning a dog would pay £161 and a cat owner £158. If there were both a cat and a dog in the home, the price rose to £176 a year. My advice would be to set up a dog-damage bank account and put away a bit each month. Then you’ll be able to afford to repair any damage your puppy inflicts on your furniture.

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