What a cat-astrophe! Aviva reveals five years of pet-related home insurance claims

Dog licking the cheek of owner
  • Almost 6,000*i claims made for dog and cat-related incidents over the last five years.
  • Windows, carpets, sofas and electrical gadgets are regular casualties of beloved furry friends.
  • Claims include a dog headbutting and smashing a window, a lively pair of cats smashing a TV, and an overzealous dog spilling paint all over the living room during house renovations.

Aviva is warning pet owners to make sure they have the right home cover for their needs, after its internal data showed a significant number of pet-related home insurance claims over the last five years. 

According to the insurer, dogs and cats have been responsible for almost 6,000* customer claims, with windows, carpets, sofas, and electrical gadgets such as laptops, tablets and phones, all regular casualties of beloved furry friends.  

Claims include:

  • a dog who headbutted and smashed a window after seeing another dog walk past.
  • an energetic pair of cats with the “zoomies” knocking over and smashing a TV while their owner slept.
  • an overzealous dog spilling paint all over the living room during house renovations.

Customers regularly complained of tripping over their cats and dogs, resulting in the accidental damage of their homes and belongings. However, in one unexpected twist, a dog tripped over a hoover, smashing a mirror to pieces in the process.  

Aviva also saw numerous claims from customers who have lost items while out walking the dog, with items such as earrings, bracelets, watches, and mobile phones topping the list. In some cases, the items lost were particularly expensive or sentimental. 

Hazel Johnson, Director of Home and Motor Claims for Aviva, says: “With approximately 23 millionii cats and dogs living in homes across the UK, our four-legged friends can inadvertently cause damage to our homes. From curious cats knocking over TVs, to playful pups smashing windows, when it comes to pet-related claims, Aviva has seen them all. 

From curious cats knocking over TVs, to playful pups smashing windows, when it comes to pet-related claims, Aviva has seen them all.

“While most home insurance policies exclude damage caused by chewing, scratching, tearing, or fouling by domestic animals, accidental damage cover for other incidents can be a valuable addition to standard home contents policies. 

“As our claims data shows, expensive and sentimental items can also go walkies while people are strolling their pooches, so personal belongings cover can be useful, covering the loss of items outside the home, anywhere in the world. For more expensive items like hearing aids and engagement rings, customers should ensure they are specified on their home insurance policies in case they ever need to make a claim.”

Some Aviva home insurance policies do provide cover for belongings which have been swallowed by pets. One such customer was helped by Aviva after discovering their rings had been eaten by a hungry hound.  

Claims dug out from Aviva’s archives show that across the decades, customers have faced similar challenges in safeguarding their homes and belongings against the unexpected mishaps of their four-legged pals. 

In 1974, one of Aviva’s brands, General Accident, had a claim from a woman who had dropped her diamond engagement ring which had been promptly swallowed by her dog. Similarly, in 1984, General Accident had a claim for an 18-carat diamond and ruby cluster ring and a gold bracelet that had been left on a shelf and eaten by a Great Dane. The claim was initially for total loss, but the ring eventually passed through the dog, however only parts of the bracelet were recovered. 

Additional pet-related claims from the last five years include:  

  • A love-drunk cat knocked a glass of red wine onto a carpet after jumping up on the table where its owners were seated. The wine also damaged the walls.
  • The overenthusiastic brushing of a dog’s fur resulted in a diamond being pulled out of a customer’s engagement ring.
  • A customer put in a claim after their dog jumped on a coffee table, knocking off their laptop, resulting in a smashed screen.
  • A customer’s diamonds were left in the dirt after their bracelet fell off during a dog walk on the beach.
  • A cat with the “zoomies” jumped up on its owner, causing them to spill a glass of water over their laptop.
  • Two playfighting Great Danes wreaked havoc by accidentally knocking a TV off its stand, causing it to stop working completely.



i. Analysis of Aviva home insurance UK claims data between 2019 and 2023, referencing ‘dog and cat’ claims classified as ‘accidental damage’, a total of 5837 claims.

ii. UK Pet Population: UK Pet Food. https://www.ukpetfood.org/information-centre/statistics/uk-pet-population.html


Karmen Ivey

General Insurance

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