Nibbling, gnawing, scratching and pawing! More than a third of animal lovers’ homes wrecked by their pets

But just one in six are covered for pet damage on their home insurance, research shows

24 August 2015

Idyllic scenes of puppies bounding through the house trailing toilet roll couldn’t be further from the truth, as research shows pets are likely to cause far more damage in the real world.

To mark National Dog Day on 26 August, a Nationwide Building Society poll* reveals pets could be pushing our nation of animal lovers to the limits, with more than a third (39%) causing damage to their owners’ homes. Chewed doors, shredded books and stained carpets are what many pet owners put up with in reality, according to the Society’s research.

Nationwide’s survey, which polled more than 1,000 adults across the UK, highlights the need for adequate home insurance. Nationwide is the only high street financial services provider to offer accidental damage caused by pets as standard on their Home Insurance product.

Despite more than a third of pet owners experiencing damage, just one in six (17%) are covered in the event of their furry friends wreaking havoc in their home, leaving the majority (83%) covering the costs themselves because they are either uninsured, or unaware of their level of cover. And with more than a quarter (26%) of owners claiming their pet caused over £200 of damage, not having the correct level of home insurance cover can prove quite costly.

The poll, which found cats and dogs are to blame for the majority of the damage to the home, at 49 per cent and 46 per cent respectively, highlighted chewed cables, swallowed items and shredded books, magazines and papers as just some of the specific targets of their pets. The most common items damaged include:

  • Scratching or damage to doors, walls, floors: 25%
  • Chewing, scratching and pecking to home contents: 17%
  • Chewing, scratching, pecking to furniture: 16%
  • Staining or damage to carpets or rugs:15%
  • Chewing, scratching, pecking to electronic devices, such as phone, tablet or PC: 13%

Martyn Dyson, Nationwide’s Head of General Insurance, said: “Owning an animal can be an extremely rewarding experience and the odd bit of damage to the home can be expected. However, when the cost of repairs runs into the hundreds of pounds, animal ownership can turn into a financial headache, particularly if the damage hasn’t been budgeted for. This cost could be avoided by taking the correct level of home insurance cover. The Society’s advice to anyone who has a pet or is looking to give a pet a home is to make sure they are covered, as not all policies include accidental pet damage like Nationwide’s Home Insurance.”

Nationwide offers two different insurance options. The Home Insurance policy includes accidental damage, along with accidental pet damage and personal possessions cover both in and out of the home. The Home Insurance Essentials policy offers accidental damage (excluding accidental pet damage) and personal possessions cover as optional extras. Customers can also benefit from up to 35% no claim discount on contents, and up to 10% no claim discount on buildings insurance if they have been claim-free for up to five years.

Notes to Editors

*Red Dot research - total sample size was 1,000 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). The survey ran from the 15/04/2015 to 20/04/2015.

Nationwide Home Insurance offers two different household insurance policies, Home Insurance, and Home Insurance Essentials,

Home Insurance includes:

  • Unlimited buildings cover for eligible properties
  • £100,000 contents sum insured (can be increased)
  • Buildings and contents Accidental Damage, including damage caused by pets as standard
  • Matching sets and suites cover
  • Cover for Personal Possessions outside the home (e.g. mobile phones, laptops, clothing, bags, bicycles)
  • Terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations apply.

Home Insurance Essentials includes:

  • £1m buildings cover
  • £50,000 contents sum insured (can be increased)
  • Optional Accidental Damage and Personal Possessions cover (can be added for an additional premium).
  • Theft and loss of keys (up to £500)
  • Cost of fixing the damage caused to trace and access a leak (up to £5,000)
  • Terms, conditions, exclusions and limitations apply.

More information on Home Insurance and Home Insurance Essentials

Each policy has different limits for unspecified personal possessions, pedal cycles and individual item limits (for valuables or personal effects, whether covered inside the home only or inside and outside the home).

Home Emergency cover and Legal Assistance cover are available as optional extras on both Home Insurance and Home Insurance Essentials.

Nationwide’s Home Insurance and Home Insurance Essentials are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited (UKI). Home Emergency cover and Legal Assistance cover are underwritten by DAS Legal Expenses Insurance Company Ltd.

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

Please note: If you are a customer looking for information on our products and services, please visit the main website.