Is Your Homeowner’s Insurance Dog-Friendly?

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Homeowner’s Insurance

A typical homeowner’s insurance shields your residential property and assets within. It also covers the expense for damage and injury to someone else caused on your property. What most people are not aware of is that pet dogs are responsible for a large number of liability claims, and all insurance companies cover them willingly.

Why Is A Dog-Friendly Insurance Necessary?

People who have furry companions will agree that sometimes they can be unpredictable. No matter how friendly your dog, he can still bite if provoked or surprised. Similarly, someone can also trip and fall over them, causing both the dog and themselves injury. Moreover, your pet is a part of your family, and therefore, it needs appropriate coverage.

The damage or injury caused by the dog is not always to others. Sometimes, even your belongings and family members may have to bear the brunt of it. A homeowners insurance policy that covers your dog will bear the expense for accidental dog bites to the damage caused by them.

What Will Happen If The Dog Is Not On Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

In case you have not put your dog on your homeowner’s insurance policy, and an untoward incident happens, you will have to pay for all the legal, medical, and repair bills from your pocket. Your insurance policy will not pay for any injury or damage caused by a pet who is not covered.

Homeowner’s Insurance Covers Dog Bites

A dog bite is a part of the personal liability coverage. If your dog is included in your homeowner’s insurance policy, it will cover dog bites irrespective of whether they occur at home or elsewhere. Usually, the payout, in this case, is fixed. If the medical expense and the cost of a lawsuit that arises for a dog bite exceeds the fixed amount, the excess will have to be borne by the homeowner. 

On average, the minimum payout in personal liability coverage is $100,000. If the claim arising from a dog bite is greater than that, you will pay for the excess.

Determining Who Is At Fault

If the guest deliberately provokes the dog and, in turn, the dog bites him, it is neither your fault nor that of the dog. However, it is all about proving the fault. In some cases, the dog owner is automatically held responsible for any injury or damage caused by the dog. Nevertheless, sometimes the onus to prove fault lies with the injured third party where they have to prove that the owner knew their dog was dangerous.

Are There Breeds That The Insurance Companies Won’t Cover?

Sadly, some breeds of dogs have a bad reputation. They are notorious for being too aggressive. If you happen to own such a breed, getting your pet added to the homeowner’s insurance policy may become an uphill task. Although, one can find a ray of hope in the fact that there is no fixed list of dog breeds that are considered dangerous. It may vary from insurance company to insurance company. Hence, if, at first, your request for adding your pet to the policy is denied, don’t be disheartened. With perseverance and persistence, you may be able to find :

1. An insurance company that covers the breed of your pet.
2. An insurance company willing to cover your furry pal for a higher premium.

Breeds That Are Considered “BAD” From Insurance Point Of View

A few dog breeds for which you may struggle finding liability coverage are:

1. Wolf Hybrid
2. German Shepherd
3. Doberman
4. Rottweiler
5. Alaskan Malamute
6. Siberian Husky
7. Pit Bull

What Constitutes A Dog-Friendly Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Here are a few things that you should look for in a homeowner’s insurance policy if you are a dog owner:

1. It Should Extend Protection To Your Dog – A good homeowner’s insurance policy is that which extends to your dog without any unnecessary stipulations and provisions. If your dog is from the “Excluded” list or has a history of being aggressive, then there should be a provision to buy additional coverage for him.

2. It Should Not Be Overly Pricey – If your pet is not amongst the “Excluded” list, your homeowner’s insurance policy should not charge you exorbitantly for covering them. Although, do keep in mind that the premium may still be a little higher than those who don’t own pets. The best thing to do here would be to compare quotes before finalizing a policy.

3. The Policy Should Allow For Determining Fault – Instead of assuming that it was the dog at fault; hence, the homeowner is responsible, the policy should have the provision to prove fault beyond a reasonable doubt before jumping the gun.

4. Policy Should State Factors That May Render The Coverage Void – Despite your furry friend being covered by the insurance policy, there are still instances where the coverage may be denied. All such instances must be stated in the policy, and you should be made aware of them. If the insurance company hides such pertinent information, you cannot trust them to be fair and impartial.

Are There Any Dog-Friendly Insurance Companies?

Good news for all pet owners – there are many dog-friendly insurance companies. Finding one that covers your precious friend is not as difficult as it is made out to be. Some reputed dog-friendly insurance companies are:

1. AIG
2. Chubb
3. Safeco
4. Plymouth Rock

There are high chances that you will find coverage for a dog that has a biting history or belongs to a dangerous breed with these companies. 

Wrapping Up

It is always better to be upfront with your insurance company if you own a pet, dogs, and any other pet included. Hiding pertinent information like this can invalidate your policy, which is never good, especially when a claim arises. Also, let the insurance company know about how ferocious or gentle your dog is. This way, you will not have to pay unnecessarily high premiums if it is avoidable. Generally, adding your pet to your homeowner’s insurance policy is not difficult. Nevertheless, if you struggle in that department, you are more likely to succeed with a company like AIG or Chubb, as mentioned above.