The pets causing havoc in homes

22 August 2016

From fire-starting tortoises to hungry huskies, Saga Home Insurance share some of the most unusual pet-related claims they've had.



With an estimated 8.5 million dogs and 7.4 million cats in homes across the country, not to mention all the guinea pigs, rabbits, snakes and micro pigs, the UK is definitely a nation of pet lovers. But owning a pet is not without its pitfalls, as anyone who has found that their dog has done its business in their favourite pair of shoes will know.

Saga Home Insurance has handled a range of animal-related disasters in the past year and here they share some of the most unusual.

Fire-starting tortoise

One Saga customer had her relaxation time brought to an abrupt end after hearing her frantic husband’s call for help - a fire had broken out in the house! The pair acted quickly and were able to put the fire out, only to find the cause of the fire was one of the family’s two pet tortoises who had accidentally knocked over the heat lamp. Thankfully the tortoises escaped the ordeal unharmed, but not without causing £6,000 worth of damage.

Smashing puppy

A passing neighbourhood cat caused chaos in one policyholder’s house when the young puppy she was puppysitting for her daughter caught sight of it from across the room and raced out to confront it in the garden – little realising that the patio doors were closed! The eager pup charged right through them, shattering the glass and causing £2,000 of damage.

Cat burglar?

When one Saga customer returned home from shopping she was in for a fright – her home looked like a crime scene with her cherished antique ceramics smashed on the floor. She then spotted her neighbour’s cat sitting bold as brass amongst the carnage. The clumsy feline had somehow snuck into the house and caused £500 of damage.

Dog’s dinner

Having removed his hearing aids to better enjoy the peace and quiet one Saga customer was left with a bit too much of the quiet. As he rose to make himself a cup of tea his hungry husky saw an opening and went straight for the hearing aids and swallowed them whole – no doubt thinking he was in for a tasty treat. The cost of replacing the hearing aids was £2,000.

A helping paw

We all appreciate a bit of help with DIY – but perhaps not in the form of a playful pup. When one policyholder was at home decorating his wife took their dog out for a walk. On returning she let the dog off the lead, only for it to race straight through the wet paint... and then through the carpeted house! The carpets were so badly damaged by colourful pawprints they had to be replaced.

With playful, boisterous and downright clumsy pets in British homes it's a good idea for pet owners to have accidental damage cover. "Animal accidents in the home can cost thousands to put right," says Saga communications director Paul Green, "this is why it is important that pet owners protect both their pets and their homes so they ensure that they can get back to normal as quickly as possible."

Find out about the animals costing motorists thousands

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.