If you have a dog, he is likely more than just a pet - he’s another member of your family. Unfortunately, many home insurance companies are becoming increasingly cautious about covering dogs. A home insurer may charge you a higher rate, exclude the dog from liability coverage, or completely refuse to cover your dog based on his breed, history of claims, or how many dog bite claims the insurer has.
Injuries caused by dogs account for more than one-third of the cost that home insurance companies pay out for liability claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In 2013, the national average cost of a dog liability claim was $27,862.
Some insurers now require dog owners to sign liability waivers for dog bites, and some exclude certain breeds of dogs. The breeds include pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Siberian huskies, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, and German Shepherds. There are some home insurance companies that won’t cover dogs at all.
In some cases, you may have to purchase a separate dog liability insurance policy to cover your dog. In other cases, you may be able to get your dog covered if you can document that you are a responsible owner.
So, what can you do? Giving up your precious pet is probably not an option. Here are some steps you can take if you’ve been denied insurance coverage for your pet:
- Shop around. Insurance policies vary greatly by company, city, and state. Contact a number of insurance companies to get quotes.
- Contact local animal-friendly organizations. There are various animal-friendly organizations such as The Humane Society and American Kennel Club that can give you information on dog-friendly insurers.
- Train your dog. Some insurers will cover your dog if you can document that he has attended and passed obedience school.
- Consider an umbrella policy. A separate umbrella policy may be able to provide liability protection that you cannot obtain in your homeowners insurance policy.