Fido & your condo insurance

It might surprise you to know how many pet owners out there live in apartments and condos. It might seem like a difficult task but owning a cat or a dog in a condo is not impossible! The difficult part comes in when you are looking around for dog-friendly condominiums, especially provided the alreadycomplicated housing market and many available condo units including a “no pets allowed” clause.

But if your condo does allow dogs, what’s there to know? Does your condo’s insurance cover your pets? And, if it does, are there any exceptions you should know about? We answer all your questions regarding your beloved Pooch and condo insurance in this post.

For the most part, your liability coverage will include your pet.

Generally, yes, your condo or renter’s insurance will include coverage for your pet. This is dependent on your insurance provider, the type of dog or cat that you own, and the coverage you choose.

If your dog or cat causes damage to property or injury to someone else, generally your liability coverage will include claims of this nature. Many condo or renter’s insurance policies will offer some type of pet liability, which essentially includes your personal legal risk if Fido gnaws up your neighbour’s antique coffee table or bites the delivery guy.

Remember that your pet’s veterinarian visits are not included by your renter or condo’s insurance. As the pet owner, you must pay for your vet bills or acquire pet insurance (which is separate and not included with any type of homeowner’s insurance.) While coverage can be limited for pets, generally the most expensive claims are liability ones – which (depending on your dog, coverage, and provider) are generally covered.

However, there are exclusions:

Some dog breeds may be excluded from your renter or condo’s insurance. If you want their legal risk insured, you will need to acquire coverage separately, i.e via a personal umbrella policy. Why? Because some animals are considered to have a higher reputation for property damage or pose a higher bite risk. You might argue that your aunt’s Chihuahua is more likely to bite than your kindly Doberman, but the medical damage a Doberman could inflict is much higher than that of a Chihuahua.

  • Some exclusions include:
  • Exotic animals, i.e wolves, monkeys, reptiles, or other.
  • Certain breeds of dogs. Each insurer will have a different list, which you may need to discuss to see if Fido is among them.

Dogs with high bite-risk or dogs who have a history of bite incidents. Some dog breeds that are generally excluded from your renter or condo’s insurance include:

  • Rottweilers
  • Staffordshire terriers
  • Pitbull-type dogs
  • German shepherds
  • Cane Corso

Of course, always double check with your insurance broker to see if this is the case. If you think Fido might be excluded from your liability coverage, give your provider a call.

What you need to know about dog bites

Pet owners are responsible for their dogs’ actions. If your dog causes damages or injury, you are technically the one to bear the full responsibility for this. Without insurance, this cost would come out of your pocket alone. Sometimes, there is a “one bite waive” rule in many areas of Canada where, if your dog bit someone out of nowhere with no previous history of aggression, it can be let off the hook.

However, what needs to be taken into account into bite situations are the various factors, like if the dog was provoked, if it is a dangerous breed, if it was off-leash, if it was protecting anyone, and if it was on its owner’s property or not.

It is also important to note that your dog is still your responsibility if it bites someone on a walk with a dog walker, or with a kennel (without a waiver being signed) or with a babysitter.

Finally, some dogs just don’t thrive very well in condos or apartments – or any place without a large backyard and plenty of room to roam! Below is a list of some dogs that are well-suited to apartment or condo living.

Dog breeds that thrive in condos and apartments –

If you live in an apartment but desperately want the companionship of a dog, all is not lost. There are many breeds of dogs that are well-suited to apartment living.

Some apartment or condo-friendly dogs include:

  • Pug
  • Greyhounds
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier
  • German Spitz
  • Shih Tzu
  • French Bulldog

Of course, it always depends on the individual! Sometimes there is variation within certain breeds that you don’t expect, and any dog is capable of having a bite history. The best way to being preventative for a lawsuit pertaining to the behaviour of your pal is to train your dog well, exercise them everyday, and condition them to a muzzle if you feel they are a bite-risk! For dogs who may be prone to reactivity, either to humans or to other dogs, muzzles keep both the other party and your dog safe – and they can help prevent a potentially huge lawsuit later down the line.

Garder un animal de compagnie dans un appartement peut sembler une tâche énorme et aussi une responsabilité civile possible, mais avec une gestion, une formation et des soins appropriés, cc’est faisable. Communiquez avec votre fournisseur d'assurance pour discuter de l'assurance condo ou locataire afin de voir si votre responsabilité personnelle inclut votre chien, chat ou autre animal de compagnie.