As a dog owner, you want to ensure you have pet liability coverage in the unfortunate event that your dog causes harm to others. While it’s far from an ideal situation, accidents happen.
Your dog may escape your backyard without your knowledge or accidentally go too far when playing with a neighborhood friend. Regardless of how it happens, you want to make sure you’re covered in the event that someone gets hurt. This is where homeowners insurance can come in handy.
Is Your Dog Covered Under Homeowners Insurance?
While there are many instances when your furry friend will be covered by homeowners insurance, coverage is still dependent on a couple factors.
For example, if your dog causes damage to your property through destructive chewing, you’re probably not going to be covered for that. If your dog harms a guest or their property in your home, however, your insurance may cover legal and medical fees.
That said, there are instances when insurance companies don’t cover liability from dog bites.
For example, certain breeds more prone to aggressive behavior might be exempt from coverage. In order to purchase the right homeowner’s insurance option for you and your furry friend, it’s important to understand the factors that impact your pet liability coverage options.
Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
Often, homeowners insurance policies will cover fees resulting from dog bites, but it depends on what state you live in and which insurance company you use. Additionally, factors such as your dog’s breed and whether your dog has a bite history could impact your eligibility for coverage or increase the cost of your insurance.
Dog Breeds Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Unfortunately, not all dog breeds are covered by homeowners insurance. If a breed is classified as being prone to aggression, they may be considered too high-risk to qualify for coverage. Some of the dog breeds typically excluded from coverage include:
- German Shepherds
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Cane Corso Mastiffs
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- Pit Bulls
- Great Danes
- Perro de Presa Canarios
- Siberian Huskies
- Wolf hybrids
- Staffordshire Bull Terriers
That said, even if your dog is on the list of “high-risk” breeds above, you still have options. You could continue to shop around for different insurance companies, as each company has varying regulations on what dog coverage they offer. For example, some companies may still qualify you for coverage if you have a high-risk breed and just charge you more. Others may not take your dog’s breed into consideration at all.
In any case, do your research and talk to your insurance agent about your dog liability options. Even if your furry friend is an angel 99% of the time, in case of an accident, you want to be sure that you’re covered.
Dog Bite History
Dog bite history is another factor that could impact your eligibility for pet liability.
If your dog has a recorded history of biting others and breaking skin with puncture wounds, then they have a bite history. The same goes if a dog bites someone and sends them to the hospital.
In contrast, if your dog playfully bites or nips at you in a way that causes no pain or harm, then that will not be taken into consideration.
Oftentimes, when your dog has a dog bite history it can disqualify you from pet liability coverage. Sometimes, as with high-risk dog breeds, it just increases your insurance premium. If your pup has a history of dog aggression, it will likely be harder to get affordable coverage. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent to explore your options.
Preventing Dog Bites
The best way to ensure you’re not liable for a dog bite is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While accidents are sometimes unavoidable, there are a number of ways to prevent dog bites.
- Read the room: If there are certain situations that trigger anxiety or aggressive behavior in your dog, avoid them. For example, if your pup doesn’t do well in crowds or interacting with other dogs, consider avoiding dog parks and busy environments until you’ve addressed the issue.
- Keep your dog social: When your dog isn’t accustomed to interacting with others, this could cause them to lash out. To avoid this, introduce your dog to new people regularly. If your furry friend is aggressive from the get-go, however, training might be necessary.
- Train your dog: If your pup shows signs of aggression toward others, it’s important to address this behavior with proper dog training. This can require consultation with an expert but in the long run, it will be well worth the investment.
- Pay attention to warning signs: Sometimes your pooch’s body language can indicate an impending attack. If your dog growls or cowers in the presence of a stranger, then it’s best to separate them from the situation.
When you’re a dog owner, you want to make sure you’re covered in the event that your dog harms others. While you want to take the appropriate preventative measures outlined above, sometimes accidents are inevitable. That’s when it’s important to have homeowners insurance that includes pet liability.
When shopping for the right homeowners insurance option, remember that there are situations where your dog might not be covered. Not to worry – just continue to do your research, check out different insurance companies and talk to your insurance agent about your dog liability options.
To learn more about your coverage options as a pet owner, check out QuickenLoans’ guide on homeowners insurance and pets.