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Having a dog is great. Renting an apartment with a dog can be another story.

When you find a rental apartment or condo that accepts dogs, you will probably have to pay a pet deposit, and if you own a large dog, you might have to introduce your pet to your prospective landlord to show he or she is friendly.

But what do you do if your dog bites someone? Are you out of luck without special insurance?

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Renter’s insurance typically covers personal property damages caused by fire or wind, theft-related property loss, displaced-living expenses, and personal liability expenses caused by negligence or accidental injury to others while staying on your property. Dog bites typically fall under your insurance plan’s personal liability section, but you may need additional coverage depending on where you live, what kind of dog you own, and who your insurer is.

When you sign up for insurance, part of the paperwork will ask if you own a pet, what breed it is, and possibly if it has bitten anyone before. Some municipalities may even have certain insurance requirements for specific breeds, says Chrissy Nigro, chief financial officer of the Philadelphia-based insurance company Nigro Insurance.

Different Dog Breeds Need Different Coverage

Liability for a dog bite “might be covered under a standard renter’s insurance policy, but some insurance companies might require the purchase of additional coverage,” Nigro says.

Different breeds may require different kinds of coverage. Depending on what kind of dog you have, you may need to shop around. Call and ask insurance agencies in your area if they cover your dog’s breed. They will also know whether or not your local government requires additional coverage. Keep in mind this additional coverage can mean a more expensive plan. Owning multiple dogs may also increase your rates because you may need larger liability claim coverage, Nigro says.

Having renter’s insurance may help ease your landlord’s mind if he or she is on the fence about renting to you, but some landlords will require proof of renter’s insurance before signing over the lease, Nigro says. For those landlords, it’s a necessity. Since your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover dog bites or your pets, it’s up to you to insure them yourself. Small damages to your landlord’s property — such as a puppy chewing on a doorway or a dog breaking window blinds — can be taken out of your security or pet deposit, or both.

This article originally appeared on
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