A standard homeowners insurance policy offers coverage for injuries and damage caused by your dog under your policy’s personality liability and the medical payments sections. Although not many homeowners insurance policies have a pet insurance clause, they cover liability and medical payments resulting from dog bites or other injuries or damage your pet may cause.
Insurance providers designed homeowners policies to add a layer of protection and peace of mind.
Homeowners insurance primarily protects your home and possessions against specific pre-defined perils. Most home insurance policies also offer some liability protection and coverage, which is why having a dog might pose a problem when getting homeowners insurance.
Is My Dog Covered by My Homeowners Insurance
Consider a scenario where your dog jumps up on someone and knocks them over. The person breaks their arm, and their glasses are damaged. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover the medical bills for their injuries and the cost of new glasses.
It’s important to note that not all homeowners insurance policies are the same regarding how they handle pet-related claims. It’s also true that not all dog breeds get the same consideration by some insurance companies. If you are a dog owner, it’s important that you understand your homeowners policy prior to an incident occurring.
Do Dogs Have an Effect on Home Insurance Rates?
When applying for homeowners insurance, you’ll discover that the insurance company will ask if you have a dog and what breed it is. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were 17,989 dog bite insurance claims nationwide in 2021, and the average cost per claim was $49,025. These are significant numbers, and they illustrate why insurance companies ask if you have a dog in the home.
Do I Have to Inform My Insurance Company That I Have a Dog
Yes, you do have to inform your insurance company at the time you purchase the policy if you have a dog. If you conceal this information and you have an incident, they may deny any responsibility. Then, you’re
left with medical bills, pain and suffering, legal fees, and other damages.
How Common Are Dog Bite Claims?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. More than 800,000 of those people receive medical attention for those bites. If your dog bites someone and you don’t have insurance to cover their medical bills and possible legal fees, you could be held responsible for these expenses.
Liability and High-Risk Dogs
In most states, dog owners are liable for injuries caused by their pets except when the dog is provoked. Still, each state handles this situation differently, and it’s a good idea to research what the laws are in your state when purchasing homeowners insurance.
Statistically, some dog breeds are more likely to cause injury because of their jaws’ power and genetic traits. These dogs are considered high-risk by insurance companies. In addition, if your dog has a history of attacking people or biting, it can be classified as risky, or the company can decline your homeowners policy altogether.
Why Some Home Insurance Companies Aren’t Pet-Friendly (100 words)
Some insurance companies take a hard line when it comes to certain dog breeds, and they will deny any application that includes these breeds. Other companies will insure you and accept that risk, but it will come with an increased premium cost.
The reason is that some companies have found that covering expenses for dog bites and other injuries is too risky and expensive to be feasible, and they prefer not to have this risk. Not all insurance companies feel this way.
There are different ways that insurance companies can handle dogs. The following are some possible approaches:
- Accepting and covering all dogs
- Only cover some breeds
- Review the history of the individual dog
- Accept the dog and raise your rates
In some circumstances, an insurance company may drop your coverage because of a dog. For instance, if your dog has a history of biting people and causing claims against the insurance, more than likely, your insurance will refuse to cover the dog anymore or raise your rates. However, they have the right to drop homeowners coverage. Similarly, if you live somewhere that prohibits ownership of certain breeds and own one of those dogs, your insurance company may drop your policy.
What Dog Breeds Are Considered High Risk?
In 2021 Forbes reviewed 42 homeowners insurance companies to see which dog breeds were more likely to be banned on homeowners policies. The following are the ten dog breeds most likely to be banned.
- Doberman Pinscher
- Pit Bull
- Chow Chow
- Wolf dogs and wolf hybrids
- Presa Canario (aka Canary Dog)
- German Shepherd
This list isn’t all-inclusive, and if your dog is on this list, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find homeowners insurance. Each company is different and may be held to some local or statewide rules that also affect coverage options.
How Do I Get Insurance with a Restricted Dog Breed?
If your dog’s breed is restricted, your first step should be to shop around. Not all insurance companies have the same list of restricted dogs, so you might find one that will accept your dog. You’ll find that some insurance companies don’t have restriction lists at all.
Another way to get homeowners insurance with a restricted dog is to get independent policies that cover your dog. Dog liability insurance is one option, and an extended umbrella policy is another. Most regular insurance companies will offer umbrella insurance. Your standard insurer may provide dog liability insurance, or you can check out a specialized pet insurance provider.
How Much Coverage Do I Need for My Dog?
If you have a dog, it’s a good idea to get homeowners coverage that includes your dog. This insurance is not just for dog bites. It can be handy even with the gentlest dog. You can never use your own liability coverage to cover your own belongings.
Determining how much coverage to have in case you find yourself in a dog-related incident can be difficult. Since the average cost of a dog bite is around $49,000, having $100,000 is a good starting point because it quickly takes care of the expected cost of a bite. This limit might seem enough, but if your dog were to knock down an older adult who requires hip replacement and months of recovery, the costs could far exceed that limit.
When looking at how much coverage you need, it’s essential to consider your dog’s breed, personality, and temperament, if other policies already offer protection, and how much you could afford if there is an incident.
Find the Right Dog-friendly Home Insurance for You
The variations between what each state will allow when it comes to banning dog breeds from insurance and liability make it challenging to offer blanket advice regarding homeowner insurance policies and dogs. The best approach to finding insurance is to learn the rules for your area and then begin shopping around.
You can expect that your potential insurer will ask about your dog’s breed, and if there is a history of dog bites, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get insurance, or the price will go up. Each company handles dog coverage differently, and comparison shopping is the best way to get a deal on homeowners insurance.