What To Do If Your Dog Damages Someone’s Property

Posted by Ilan Kaps on Sep 6th 2022

If your dog gets onto someone else’s property, they can do a lot more damage than simply leaving a poop behind. In fact, that might be the best case scenario. Even the best-natured dogs like to get raucous when in a new place.

Your dog’s pet insurance is not going to cover the damage they do. That shouldn’t stop you from finding out how much pet insurance costs. Vet bills can be incredibly expensive, and you want to be prepared in case anything happens to your precious dog.

If your pet damages someone else's property, however, here is what you should do.

Find out the scale of the damage

Sometimes, the person whose property was damaged is angry because it happened and not because the damage is particularly bad. In this case, you can apologize profusely and offer to pay for repairs. This is the best case scenario, as it does not require you to bring any third party into the picture.

But if the scale of the damage is significant, you may be in trouble. For example, if your pet dug into some piping and the property flooded, repairs might cost thousands of dollars. The owner of the property may even claim living costs from you for the time spent in hotels while their home is under repairs.

The cost does not need to be so extensive for you to turn to your insurer. The question you need to answer is whether paying for the damage yourself will cause you financial discomfort. If so, making a claim is worth it.

Claim liability insurance

Now, the obvious caveat here is that you need to already have insurance when the damage takes place. If you don’t, the expense is all on you. If you refuse to pay (or are unable), the property owner can take you to court.

You might be worried because you don’t remember getting liability insurance. However, the good news is that liability insurance is part of most renters and homeowners insurance policies. Liability insurance covers claims for damages you have accidentally caused to others. This includes damage that your pet has done.

Find out if you have liability insurance. If so, make the claim. Your insurer may need some documentation and might investigate the validity of the claim.

Offer to help…

Since your dog has caused damage to another person’s property, it is a good idea to offer to help with any of the admin required to get repairs done. If you know of any good contractors, you may be able to provide a reference. This was an accident and it does not need to be the source of acrimony between you and your neighbors.

…or get out of their way

However, offering to help is not always the best course of action. Some neighbors do not respond well to any niceties when they are angry. You need to decide how this individual is most likely to act. In some cases, it may be best to stay out of their way as much as possible, only getting involved when it is necessary to facilitate insurance payouts.

Implement extra precautions

The first time this happens, no one may be to blame. Accidents happen. Dogs cannot be entirely controlled, as they are independent creatures. Your dog may have seen an opportunity with the door open and taken it.

However, if this happens again, you have no one to blame but yourself. The damaged party will certainly see it that way. While you should still be able to claim from your insurance, your premiums will rise in future.

You need to implement extra precautions after the first time it happens. This may mean installing an extra gate or taking your dog to training. The circumstances are going to be specific to you and your dog.

In future, you will not have to deal with the damage done by your dog. You'll save everyone a lot of strife… and money.


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