Your pet dog is a beloved part of your family, and you want to make sure that they are always safe and protected. Unfortunately, your pup may get into a little trouble and cause damage to property or people. Does your homeowners insurance policy cover such incidents?
The answer is not always clear-cut, and it depends on the specific details of your policy. It’s important to understand what type of coverage you have, so you can rest assured that you’ll be protected in the event of a dog-related claim. A licensed YourPolicy agent can help you find a policy that will fit your specific needs in this situation.
How does homeowners insurance cover dogs?
If a dog damages your personal property, it is unlikely to be covered by your homeowners policy. On the other hand, if your dog injures a person or damages their property in your home, your homeowners coverage will help with medical and legal fees.
This coverage falls under the personal liability and medical payments to others sections of your homeowners policy.
If your dog seriously injures another person, you could be subject to some costly medical bills. This could potentially be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If a lawsuit is filed, the personal liability part of your policy covers related expenses including
- Legal counsel,
- Plaintiff’s legal expenses,
- Reward if the plaintiff wins, and
- Cost if the dog destroyed another person’s property.
If your dog bites a person who doesn’t sue, you may still be responsible for medical treatment. Coverage limits typically start at $1,000 and max out at $10,000.
Why homeowners insurance may not cover your dog?
Certain dog breeds are known for an excessively high number of dog bite claims. Some insurers exclude coverage for these breeds or refuse to cover your home altogether. According to Quicken Loans, the following breeds may fit into this category:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Presa Canario
- Siberian Husky
- Staffordshire Terrier
A number of dog groups have been lobbying state legislators to ban insurers from refusing coverage to specific breeds. So far only Illinois, New York, and Nevada have implemented legislation to limit breed discrimination.
If your dog falls into one of the above categories, contact YourPolicy. A licensed insurance agent can explain your options and help you find the right insurance.
When your dog damages your home or other structures on your property
Homeowners insurance is designed to cover unexpected, accidental events that could not have been prevented by the homeowner. This would include, for example, windstorms or theft damage.
Insurance companies tend to view any damage caused by your dog on your property as preventable. As a result, your dog chewing through your drywall or destroying your exterior fencing will not be covered.
When your dog damages your personal property
If your dog tears your favorite chair to shreds or damages any other property within your home, it’s unlikely to be covered by your insurance policy. However, if someone else’s dog damages your home or your belongings, the liability section of their homeowners policy will compensate you.
When your dog injures members of your household
If your dog bites you or another member of your household, your health insurance will have to cover your medical treatment. Liability coverage is designed to cover the medical expenses of people that don’t live in your home.
Tips for getting homeowners insurance as a dog owner
Understand Your State’s Dog Liability Laws
Most states have at least one of three types of liability laws for dogs:
Dog-bite statute: Even though these laws refer to dog bites, you’re legally responsible for any type of injury or property damage caused by your dog. You can be sued in civil court for damages.
One-bite rule: You’re legally responsible for an injury caused by your dog if the victim can prove that you knew beforehand that your dog was aggressive. If there were no previous incidents, you may not be liable.
Negligence laws: You’re only responsible for damages if the court can prove you were careless and made no effort to control your dog.
It’s important to consult legal experts on these matters.
Consider umbrella coverage
Even if you have coverage for your dog, you may want to consider an umbrella policy. This coverage increases your liability limits in $1 million increments. It offers protection against lawsuits that may exceed the $500,000 coverage liability standard limit. Contact a YourPolicy Agent for details.
Your pets are like family, but just like the human members of your household, they occasionally get into trouble. Protect yourself from the risks associated with dog-related claims by understanding the details of your insurance policy as related to your furry buddy.