Insurance and animals: Tips for making the right decisions

Insurance and animals: Tips for making the right decisions

To avoid unwanted surprises, and for peace of mind, it’s important to have insurance that covers your companion animals. Here are some pointers.

May 1, 2020

Inform your insurer about your pets
When you have pets you’re obliged to inform your insurer because the presence of animals raises their level of risk. If you don’t inform them, your insurer may refuse to pay a claim or even cancel your policy, making you potentially obliged to pay for damages out of pocket.

Be aware of your responsibilities and rights
Even though Quebec’s recent Civil Code considers animals to be sentient beings [with] biological needs, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) classifies animals as possessions. Should your animal cause injury—for instance, by biting someone—you can be held legally responsible. Fortunately, companion animals are usually included in the civil liability clause of your home insurance policy. Some policies also cover your animal for harm that they may encounter in the home setting.

Compare costs
There’s no set price for adding a companion animal to your insurance policy; each company has its own approach, hence the importance of comparative shopping. Note that some companies refuse to insure specific breeds of dog, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers.

In most cases, your insurance premium will increase 10-15% following a claim, which will be applied for a period of 12 months when your policy is up for renewal. For this reason, before submitting a claim for damage caused by your 4-legged friend, make sure that the payout will outweigh the increase in premium. If this isn’t likely, avoid making a claim.

Tips for insuring your pet
Insurance may seem complicated but here are some tips to help you make the most of your policy:

  1. Shop around and get the best price
    Some companies will charge more for companion animals. Shopping around will save you money.
  2. Be sure to inform your insurer when you adopt a new animal
    If you adopt a new animal after your contract has started, be sure to advise your insurance company as quickly as possible. If this raises the cost of your insurance, you’re still free to shop around for better prices.
  3. Find out about premiums before you adopt an animal
    It’s a well-known fact: having a companion animal is a responsibility. A home insurance policy is an additional cost, which should be taken into consideration before you decide to adopt an animal.

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