Loving puppies is something we can all get behind. It’s scientifically proven.
And according to the Insurance Information Institute, there are 60 million U.S. households with a dog. If you’re one of them, have you ever considered their effect on your insurance?
How Pets Affect My Homeowner’s Insurance
When you purchase homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that includes liability coverage, pets are grouped into what’s covered.
Liability protects you from lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or your family members cause. It also covers damage caused by your pets. So, if your kids or dog destroy your neighbor’s fancy rug, you’re covered.
The liability part of your policy will pay for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards — up to the limit on your policy. Liability limits usually start at $100,000. However, you should talk with your insurance agent to see if you might need more coverage.
Your policy also provides no-fault medical coverage. If a friend or neighbor is injured in your home, they can submit their medical bills to your insurance company. However, medical costs for you or your pet aren’t included.
Can All Dogs Go To Heaven Be Insured?
Some insurance companies don’t insure certain breeds of dogs considered dangerous, like pit bull terriers or German shepherds. Others might decide depending on the individual dog.
However, once a dog bites someone, it’s a bigger risk. In that case, expect a higher premium, a non-renewed homeowner’s insurance policy, or a policy that doesn’t include your dog.
Some insurers try to limit these risks, like by requiring dog owners to sign liability waivers for dog bites. Others charge more for owners of more dangerous breeds, and some won’t insure dogs at all.
Be sure to talk to your agent to see what your policy includes.
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Tips to Prevent Pets From Causing Property Damage
While your homeowner’s or renter’s policy covers damage your pet causes to other properties or people, it typically doesn’t cover damage done to your property. This includes farm animals kept on another part of your property.
One strange exception? If a fish tank breaks and causes water damage, it’s typically covered as long as the spill didn’t happen because of negligence on your part.
The best way to prevent your pets from causing damage – to your home or others’ – is with proper training.
Make sure your pet is used to people (and other pets, for a dog) so it knows how to behave around them.
Encourage non-aggressive games with a dog, like playing fetch. More aggressive games like tug-of-war can teach bad behavior.
Don’t expose your pet to new situations without knowing how it might react.
Have your pet spayed or neutered to reduce its chance of biting and acting aggressively.
Get professional help from a veterinarian or trainer if your pet develops undesirable behaviors.
Have Questions About Your Liability Coverage?
After reading this, you may be thinking, “I wonder if my pet is included on my homeowner’s insurance.” (Or you may just be thinking about your dog. That’s OK, too.)