Intermediate Topic Insurance Implications for Aquarists

A short article about the insurance implications of owning a fish tank, large or small.
  1. A large aquarium
    R2Rlargetanktusi.jpg
    Photo from the Reef2Reef archives courtesy of Tusi, ©2018, All Rights Reserved

    When you’re setting up a new tank, aquarium liability is probably the last thing on your mind. And no one is going to force you to get a specialty policy to cover your aquatic wonderland. But here’s the thing, accidents happen. An appropriate insurance policy may be your golden ticket should a time come when you need it.

    To determine what sort of coverage you may need, here are some questions to ask yourself:

    · If your aquarium breaks, who’s responsible for replacing it?

    · If your aquarium leaks into your downstairs neighbour’s home, who pays for the damage?

    · If someone breaks into your home and steals or breaks some of your gear, are you covered?

    Cracked tank.
    R2Rcrackori.jpeg
    Photo from the Reef2Reef archives courtesy of Ori, ©2018, All Rights Reserved

    While every insurance policy is different, and different companies cover different things, a lot of insurance claims come down to cause. What caused the water escape? What caused the tank to leak? If damage was caused by something your insurance policy covers, then it will cover your aquarium. If it was caused by something not covered by your policy then it won’t.

    If you carry homeowner, content, or renter insurance, there’s a good chance your current insurance policy covers damage caused by a broken aquarium or water spill. However, this often won’t cover the tank itself or the life inside it. Check your policy and see what it covers and what it doesn’t.

    The smartest thing you can do is read your policy. If you’re not clear on what it does or doesn’t cover, call your insurance broker and ask specific questions. Ask about what’s included but also pay attention to what’s excluded in your policy.

    One policy exclusion to watch for is anything mentioning pets or aquariums. If this is in your policy then it could mean damage caused by a broken aquarium may not be covered so make sure to double check the details.

    Once you’ve checked your existing insurance policy, your next step is to decide if this is good enough or if you want or need additional coverage. Some people are satisfied with basic insurance and are willing to cover the extra costs out-of-pocket should something happen.

    There are a few helpful Reef2Reef forum discussions on this topic with great advice from the community:

    · Insurance for Aquarium Equipment, Fish, or Coral

    · Aquarium insurance

    · Whose insurance company covers water damage?

    · Renters Insurance

    · Has anyone reinforced their floors?

    For those who’d like extra coverage (something more specific than basic coverage), it’s best to research different insurance companies and learn about the different types of specialty insurance available. Every provider is different so you will have to do some emailing and calling around. Some will have policies available for hobbyists, some will customize packages to suit your needs, and some will offer a rider covering your aquarium. It all depends on what your insurance needs are and how much you’re willing to spend on a policy.

    There are specialty insurance policies available for any number of unique things although not every insurance company will take on the risk. The most famous example of this is from the 1940s where a movie studio took out a $1 million policy on actress Betty Grable’s legs. So don’t worry about how random your insurance request is—chances are they’ve heard (and insured) it all--and it's likely you can find insurance if you're willing to pay the cost.

    If you’re not sure what questions to ask when researching insurance coverage, here are a few to get you started.

    · Does an aquarium count as “pets”?

    · Are there rules about tank placement and weight distribution in this policy?

    · Does the size of my aquarium matter? Can it be any size?

    · Does my landlord need to approve my aquarium?

    · Will this policy cover my exotic fish?

    Interior water damage, exaggerated.
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    Photo is a royalty-free image from Pixabay.

    Additional resources:

    · Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pet Damage?

    · What Kind Of Aquarium Insurance Policy Do You Need?

    · Does my insurance cover damage caused by my aquarium?

    · If I have a large aquarium, will my renter’s insurance be cancelled?

    · Fish tank insurance.

    · What kind of fish tank insurance do I need?

    · Fish insurance


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    About the author:
    Robyn Roste


    With more than 10 years of experience in writing, marketing, and audio editing, Robyn Roste’s experience combines new media, broadcast media, journalism, public relations, and social media. She has a Bachelor of Journalism and loves learning new things and helping people understand complex subjects. Robyn recently won a prize from the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) and was shortlisted for a Literary Arts Award in British Columbia.

    Now living in British Columbia, Canada’s beautiful Fraser Valley, Robyn enjoys rural living even if it means running into the occasional wild animal. When there’s spare time, Robyn and her husband travel to places where they can snorkel and see the fish from The Blue Planet for themselves.

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