Home Insurance and Dogs – What You Need to Know

Written by Mike

Do you own a dog? Do you own your home? If so, you know that you need to buy home insurance coverage. When doing this, you may be interested in a policy that includes liability for your dog.

Whether or not you can buy this type of coverage is based on numerous factors including your insurance company, where you live, and most importantly, the type of breed that you own.

Over the past few years, the number of dog bite lawsuits has increased. Along with this, so has the average insurance claim.

Here are some interesting statistics from the Insurance Information Institute:

  • Roughly one-third of all home insurance liability claims are related to dog bites
  • Every year, these claims cost insurance companies nearly $500 million (and rising)
  • The average cost of a dog bite insurance claim is approximately $29,000

According to the Humane Society of the United States, just about 40 percent of households in the US own at least one dog.

What Breed do You Own?

The answer to this question may determine your eligibility for liability insurance. Here is a list of breeds that are often times considered to be “dangerous.”

  • Pit bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Great Dane
  • Akita
  • Boxer

Some home insurance companies keep a list of breeds that they refuse to insure. These lists often include the breeds above, although others could be included.

Tip: Before you purchase a dog, call your home insurance agent to see if the breed is on their “dangerous” list. If it is, you may want to think twice about buying. Not only will this save you insurance troubles, but it could go a long way in keeping you, your family, and your neighbors safe.

While some insurance companies will sell a policy regardless of the breed, others have stipulations that they follow.

For example, State Farm asks dog owners a variety of questions on their application. Most importantly, they want to know if the dog has ever bitten somebody in the past. If so, you are required to supply more information on the circumstances.

Dog Bite Tips

Owning a dog can be a lot of fun. However, you don’t want to put anybody in harm’s way.

Did you know that nearly half of all dog bites occur on the owner’s property? For this reason, make it known to others – such as delivery people and neighbors – that you own a dog. This way they can exercise caution when entering your property.

Also, you have a responsibility to keep your dog under control despite the fact that it is on your property.

If your dog does bite somebody, it is important for the victim to receive medical attention right away. Additionally, you should take your dog away from the situation to ensure that no further injuries are inflicted.

Although you may be tempted to sweep it under the rug, you are best off contacting your home insurance company right away. Let them know what happened and explain that there may be medical bills involved.

No matter how friendly your dog may be, you never know when things could change for the worse. It would be in your best interest to purchase a home insurance policy with liability coverage for your dog.

This entry was posted in Home by Mike.