Say you wake up one morning only to discover that your fish tank exploded. Can you imagine the mess that would create? What do you do in a time like that? These are common questions asked by many aquarium owners. If you’re wondering whether or not you need to purchase fish tank insurance to avoid help with a situation like this, then you’ve come to the right place.
What about fish tank insurance? If you own fish, some policies will insure your aquarium. But the good news is that if you already have homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, then you may not need additional coverage for your aquarium. You are Save.
Since there isn’t much information on the Internet today regarding fish tank insurance, we created this article to help you. Below we’ll discuss the different types of aquarium insurances you can apply for, how homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance may cover your fish tank, and some essential tips to help you find a decent policy.
What Is Aquarium Insurance?
There are necessary aquarium insurances, but you may already be covered if you have home insurance or renter’s insurance. However, we’ll discuss the way homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance works with aquariums later. For now, we’re going to cover what aquarium insurance is and what the offerings are.
Many people wonder about aquarium insurance because there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the concept. What most people want to know is whether or not they’ll be covered if there is some massive accident with their aquarium. Some renters fear that a fish tank accident might wind up leading to them getting sued.
Every buyer will have a different type of aquarium insurance policy, and that’s where a lot of the confusion lies. Depending on what’s living inside of your aquarium, you may need a different type of insurance than what you might think. For instance, if you have a tank that includes animals like starfish and sea turtles, then your policy would be different from somebody that had a basic aquarium in a restaurant.
On top of this, those of you that have exotic fish in your aquariums will need to consider other forms of insurance. Exotic fish typically fall under a different type of policy and often need to be insured with a separate insurance policy.
Types of Insurance Policies
- Standard Aquarium
- Marine Life Aquarium
- Exotic Fish
#1 Standard Aquarium Insurance Policies
If you have a standard aquarium of any size, including a ten-gallon tank or a fifty-gallon tank, then you should consider getting an insurance policy that covers liability issues. So, you need something that includes more than just the aquarium and the fish that live inside of the tank. You also need to think about whether you’d have any liability if the aquarium broke, depending on where your aquarium sits.
For instance, if your aquarium breaks, somebody could get cut on the glass shards that are left around. You may also wind up creating water damage to the facility you have the tank in. Also, if your tank breaks and ruins somebody else’s an expensive rug or antique items, you’ll want to consider that one, too.
Most deductibles for standard aquarium insurance policies range from a $500 to a $2000 deductible.
Companies like Hartford and Progressive often offer these types of policies.
#2 Marine Life Aquarium Insurance Policies
If you have a marine life aquarium in a commercial situation, then you’ll need to consider an insurance policy that will cover the property. Unfortunately, most marine life aquarium insurance policies cost quite a bit of money. You’ll need more than just a standard liability plan. Instead, you should consider a zoo policy, which would cover liability for guests, the facility the aquarium resides in, and the animals inside the tank – check K&K Insurance.
While these policies don’t come cheap, they do cover all of the business risks involved with having an aquarium on display. You’ll be covered for things beyond your aquarium as well like:
- Basic business risks
- Company vehicles
- Emergency vacating
- Workers’ compensation
- Event cancelations
- Crisis response
Companies like the AARP and Progressive offer zoo policies, and they usually have a $500 to $2000 deductible.
#3 Exotic Fish Insurance Policies
If you own any exotic fish, then you’ll need to go above and beyond your standard aquarium insurance policy. That’s because most standard aquarium insurance policies also don’t cover exotic fish. Because of this, most people that enjoy collecting exotic fish also apply for particular procedures that are designed to cover their fish collections. This process is much like when Jennifer Lopez had her famous rear end insured.
One exotic fish can cost a few thousand dollars, and they also tend to require extensive costs to keep them alive. So, you’ll need to find an insurance company that has high-risk, high-value policies for specific niches. So, you won’t be able to purchase this type of policy using the same company that covers your car for example. Some companies, like the Hartford, insure fish tank fish for sure.
Aside from these typical fish tank insurance policies, depending on whether you own or rent your home, and what type of insurance you have, your fish tank may already be covered. However, much of that depends on the wording in your insurance contracts. We’ll discuss how renters’ insurance and homeowners’ insurance may help to insure your fish tank.
Fish Tank Insurance If You Rent Your Home
If you rent your home, then before you even consider getting insurance for your fish tank, you’ll need to make sure you have permission to place your fish tank (Pet Agreement .pdf Example) on your rental property. That’s because some rental properties won’t allow you to have fish tanks due to the damage they can create. If you aren’t sure, you’ll need to check your Rental Agreement or obtain permission in writing to have your fish tank in your rented area from the person that owns the property.
Having permission in writing means you should do the following:
- Have the property owner sign the agreement.
- Make sure the property owner also dates the agreement
If you have the agreement signed and dated by the property owner, that will keep you safe if an incident did occur. If you put an aquarium in your rental property later only to find out later that you were never allowed to have one there in the first place, then you could wind up being sued.
Insurance If You’re Allowed to Have a Fish Tank
Let’s say you do have permission in writing from the property owner, so you know you are allowed to own a fish tank. That’s excellent news. However, what are you going to do if your fifty-gallon aquarium bursts after you’ve gone to work? The person living underneath you now has water dripping into his or her apartment. That is where renter’s insurance comes in handy.
If you are a renter, you should always have rental insurance, whether or not you already own a fish tank. Renter’s insurance will protect both you, your staff, and your landlord. In many states, people are required to apply for renter’s insurance if they rent a space. Regardless, the main thing to keep in mind if you have an aquarium and are looking for renter’s insurance is finding a policy that can also cover your fish tank.
Most standard renter’s insurance policies cover some of the following:
- Damage is done from water if there is a leak or the fish tank bursts.
- Protection if a fire takes place because of the fish tank’s equipment.
- You’ll be protected if your landlord sues you
However, most standard renter’s insurance policies do not cover the following:
- Aquarium replacement costs
- Aquarium equipment costs
- The cost of your livestock
Some insurance companies will allow you to purchase a rider on your plan to cover your aquarium.
We’ll be breaking down much of this information in great more detail below.
Since most of the renter’s insurance policies won’t cover the cost of your fish or aquarium, you may also want to consider getting an additional plan for your aquarium. If you own exotic fish and your fish are worth thousands of dollars, you should also consider insuring your exotic livestock.
Some insurance companies that sell renter’s insurance may want you to take out another liability policy to cover your aquarium as well. Typically, that only costs a few bucks a month and isn’t expensive. However, this concept varies a lot depending on what company you use, and the state with which you reside. So, you’ll need to call up local insurance agents to discover what coverage you can receive.
Your typical rental insurance policies usually offer additional aquarium insurance for about $15 to $30 dollars a month, and that’s for a one 1000 square foot apartment.
What Will Renter’s Insurance Cover?
Below we’ll answer some questions about what renter’s insurance will cover, including:
- Will renter’s insurance will replace a broken fish tank.
- Will renter’s insurance will cover the liability for water damage if your tank breaks.
- Will renter’s insurance covers a stolen aquarium.
- Will renter’s insurance covers a pump fire.
- If your fish tank is covered by renter’s insurance.
#1 Will Renters’ Insurance Replace a Broken Fish Tank?
No, renter’s insurance will not replace a broken fish tank. If your fish tank breaks, you won’t be able to get it repaired just because you have renter’s insurance. While most types of personal property are covered in what renter’s insurance considers “named perils,” like wind, fire, etc., a manufacturing failure isn’t on this list. So, if your fish tank breaks out of nowhere, you still won’t be covered, and you can’t claim to get your fish tank replaced.
On the other hand, let’s say your home was broken into, and everything inside of it was destroyed, including your aquarium. Then your aquarium would be covered as a loss. That’s because a break-in is considered to be vandalism or malicious mischief. Both of these issues fall under standard perils and are therefore covered by your renter’s insurance.
#2 Will Renter’s Insurance Cover the Liability for Water Damage if My Tank Breaks?
If your fish tank breaks for any reason, your renter’s insurance may not cover your liability for the water damage that occurs. If the insurance company decides to consider the fish tank breaking as pet damage, then they won’t have to cover the problem. Pet damage isn’t part of renters’ insurance because it’s likely to happen if a renter owns a pet. Unfortunately, we all know that tanks that can break and leak, creating damage now and then.
#3 If Somebody Steals My Aquarium, Will Renter’s Insurance Cover That?
If your aquarium was stolen, renter’s insurance should cover the cost of your aquarium. Renter’s insurance does replace stolen property when this occurs. So, if your tank and any of its parts, any of the items inside the tank, etc., are taken, you could have them replaced. While that’s good news, the bad news is that your pricy fish still won’t be covered.
#4 If My Aquarium Pump Starts a Fire, Will I Be Covered?
To run an aquarium, you need to use a lot of electricity. That electricity operates:
- Your pumps
- The rest of your fish tank equipment
While those items are typically designed to work well around water, there is always the possibility that the equipment will fail, and you may wind up with an electrical fire. Renter’s insurance policies will cover you if your aquarium pump starts a fire.
#5 Will My Fish Tank be Covered by Renter’s Insurance Liability?
In most cases, you’ll be covered for any liability placed on you if anything goes awry with your fish tank. However, that doesn’t mean your fish tank or any of your fish or equipment will be replaced. What will be covered is the damage that your fish tank might do based on your liability.
Remember, when you need liability coverage, that’s typical because you’ve done something negligence that caused the fish tank issue. For instance, let’s say you plugged far too many plugs into a single power strip. We can all agree that’s negligent. If a fire or any damage is caused as a result of your action, you’d have coverage under your renter’s insurance.
Even if your pump stops working and you can’t see a reason why that happened, it’s good to have renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance will cover you if somebody tries to sue you because of something that may have occurred with your fish tank. Even if you are found negligent in court and liable, your renter’s insurance will take care of those claims. So, you can see why it’s essential to have renter’s insurance when you own a fish tank and rent.
Fish Tank Insurance If You Own Your Home
If you are a homeowner, a homeowner’s insurance policy may give you some leeway with your fish tank. Homeowner’s insurance typically covers your home and the contents inside of it. You’ll usually be covered by the damage that your fish tank may create, the clean-up costs, and any repairs you may need to make to your home or anybody else’s house that may have been affected by the incident.
One thing you’ll discover when you talk to insurance companies about fish tank coverage and homeowner’s insurance will be much like doing the same with renter’s insurance, even when you are talking to the same company. Most fish tanks aren’t standard items that are included in policies. However, if you do encounter an accident with your fish tank, there may be substantial repair costs. Check with your policy and insurance agent to see if there is any coverage.
Water Damage and Homeowner’s Insurance
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover water damage, which is pretty standard. Unfortunately, this type of coverage usually only deals with the structure, not the personal plan inside of the home. Much of that has to do with the language present in your policy. Depending on how things are worded, most homeowner’s policies cover types of direct physical loss, but there are still some exclusions.
However, that means that your personal property is usually only covered by the things that are named right in your policy. So, you may have a much narrower amount of coverage when it comes to your personal property if it isn’t named right in your insurance policy. So now that you know that, would water damage from say, a bed or a fish tank that burst, be part of your plan?
Possibly yes, but it will depend on the language in your policy. Most homeowner’s insurance policies offer personal property coverage for water damage that comes in the forms of:
- Water or steam coming from your plumbing or heating
- Water or steam coming from your air conditioner
- Fire protection
You also need to check to see if what a “household appliance” appears clearly stated in your policy. If there is no clear definition in your plan, then the insurance company would use the term’s ordinary meaning. Unfortunately, that opens the door to a lot of ambiguities, and the insurer or the person that drafted the original document will get to define what a household appliance means.
If we use the standard dictionary definition of a home appliance from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, then a household appliance means “an instrument or device designed for a particular use or function.” Using the dictionary definition when trying to answer whether a fish tank or a waterbed would be covered upon bursting tells us that these items fit the traditional description of a household appliance.
Since an aquarium is designed for a particular use, which is maintaining fish in a tank for the enjoyment of those around it, it does fit the definition of an appliance. Most people already view a waterbed as an appliance as well. So, under the standard dictionary definition, these items would be considered appliances. However, the problem is that the insurer may choose to define them as otherwise. Therefore, whatever language is in your insurance can have a drastic impact on your coverage.
Internal Water Damage
Most homeowner’s insurance policies consider internal water damage to be one of the perils covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. If you have a policy that covers internal water damage, then you are already covered if you incur any water damage inside of your home due to your fish tank breaking.
So, let’s say your fish tank breaks inside of your home and does some internal damage. What’s covered if you have interior water damage coverage in your homeowner’s insurance policy? You’ll have coverage for:
- Any destroyed carpeting
- Any wood flooring that gets damaged
- Wall damage
- Personal belongings that are destroyed due to the leak
But is the fish tank also covered, and will the homeowner’s insurance policy replace the fish tank? That all depends on why the fish tank initially broke, and your homeowner’s insurance policy as well. Let’s break that down below in more detail. If your tank broke due to one of the following, you most likely wouldn’t be covered for your tank:
- Your negligence or mistreatment of the tank damaged the tank and led to it breaking.
- You haven’t been maintaining the tank properly
- You overfilled your tank
If any of the above circumstances are correct, then your insurance company wouldn’t cover the replacement costs of your tank. Typically, your insurer won’t consider covering damage if the tank broke due to your fault. Most likely, you’d need a separate policy in place to cover the tank itself, while the damage done by the tank would be covered.
The 16 Common Perils
However, if your tank broke due to one of the 16 common perils that are usually listed in a homeowner’s insurance policy, then your tank would be covered. Some of the more 16 common perils include:
- Falling objects
- Volcanic explosion
For example, if your tank broke when a fire occurred, then the homeowner’s insurance policy would cover the cost of your tank. If you have a more precisely defined homeowner’s insurance policy, then your personal belongings may also be included. However, if personal belongings are excluded in your plan, then they won’t be covered.
However, if you do have a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers the 16 common perils and your children wind up breaking your fish tank, then your fish tank is included. That’s because children breaking a fish tank probably won’t be mentioned as an exclusion in your policy. Some common events are often excluded in homeowner’s insurance policies, including:
- Course negligence
Let’s say you experience an earthquake that causes your tank to fall and break. If that occurs, then your fish tank wouldn’t be covered because it’s excluded in your policy. The only way you’d have that fish tank covered is if you were also paying for earthquake insurance.
How to Check Your Insurance Policy
The wording in your policy is going to be the middle ground that insurance companies will use to deny individual claims or make things difficult for you to understand. Most homeowner’s insurance companies put your policy in a language that most laypeople will never comprehend. That’s why insurance companies are often able to interpret the language in the insurance document they way they see fit, and that’s usually for their benefit, unfortunately.
So, what should you be looking for? You want to find wording that includes a fish tank and makes sure your insurance agent then clarifies in writing what the statement means about your aquarium. Ask your agent to explain what might be covered if your tank leaks and damages anything, and what won’t be covered. Look for the following items, like:
- Sump Failure
- Water bed or hot tubs
- Flood damage
#1 Sump Failure
Sump failure means the groundwater sump that’s found in your house, not the sump that you use with your fish tank.
#2 Water Beds or Hot Tubs
Some policies place aquariums in the same area of the plan as water beds or hot tubs. That’s because all of these items are considered to be in-home devices for water storage.
#3 Flood Damage
Flood damage occurs when water from below rises to the interior of the home. However, that doesn’t include your fish tank.
Much like we described above, appliances often have their particular clarifications in homeowner’s insurance policies. Depending on your policy, your fish tank may be covered if it leaks, much like you would be covered if your washing machine were leaking, but it has to be a sudden occurrence and not gradual. However, much of that will depend on the wording in your policy. If you aren’t satisfied, ask about what is covered is something does leak, and what won’t be included.
What Coverage Do I Have?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies include the items we’ve listed above. However, what we’ve encompassed here is a generalization of what most homeowner’s insurance policies list. That doesn’t mean your homeowner’s insurance policy necessarily covers these things. That’s where you’ll need to look at your plan and talk to your agent so that you can tell what coverage you have.
- You are covered if your fish tank catches on fire.
- You might be covered for damages if your fish tank bursts or starts leaking. You’ll also receive compensation for any repairs or clean-up that has to be done to your residence or any other properties.
- You’re covered if a thief breaks into your home and destroys your aquarium.
- You’re covered if somebody breaks into your house and removes your equipment or your aquarium and steals it.
- You might be covered if you forgot to turn off your water while refilling your tank, and you flooded your house.
- You may be covered if you wind up being sued for negligence by somebody else that’s affected by your fish tank breaking.
- If your aquarium leaks or bursts, you won’t necessarily receive money to replace your fish or your fish tank.