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Are my pets covered under my home insurance policy?

Dog BiteMost people think of pets as members of the family and do not consider them in relation to home insurance policies. However, pet ownership comes with more responsibility than just maintaining your pet’s health and happiness.

Pets come with personal liability responsibility. Some pets, such as goldfish, are not usually an issue, but many pets, especially certain breeds of dogs, have a big impact on your home insurance policy.

Not all pets are covered automatically and some may be excluded all together, requiring a separate rider for insurance.

To learn all about the details of owning a pet and what is and is not covered under your homeowners insurance policy then continue reading below and then also remember to enter your zip code in to compare free home insurance rates!

Prevention & Minimizing Pet Risk

Prevention is a necessary precaution to take with every pet. Spay and neuter dogs to reduce aggression and keep pets secured in appropriate cages or private rooms when necessary. A house full of guests can make even the friendliest dog nervous so, rather than take any chances, reduce the risk of injury by keeping the dog away from the party. However, while prevention can certainly minimize risk, it cannot replace the value of pet liability insurance.

Pet Liability Insurance on Your Home Insurance Policy

Previously, pet liability insurance used to be included automatically in your home insurance policy, whether you had a pet or not. This was especially convenient for people who bought their home insurance prior to ever thinking about getting a pet or purchasing pet insurance.

People almost always think to add a new driver to their auto insurance policy but they rarely think to add their pet to their home insurance policy. However, since most home insurance policies no longer automatically include pet liability in the policy it is your responsibility to be sure you have appropriate coverage for your pet.

More than 30 states hold the dog owner responsible for injuries or deaths that are caused by the dog, making pet liability insurance a financial necessity. Pet liability insurance can be purchased as an add-on to your home insurance policy to cover liability in the event your dog bites or attacks someone.

The Cost of Dog Related Insurance Claims on Your Home Insurance Policy

Pets vary widely and include everything from hamsters and snakes to cats and dogs. While not all pets require pet liability, if you have a pet it is your responsibility to consider the need for insurance.

The majority of pet liability claims center around dogs. Almost 40% of all homeowners have a pet dog in the home, and every year almost 5 million people get bit by a dog.

These dog bites result in an average of 800,000 emergency room trips per year with half of them being children. The average cost of a dog bite insurance claim is $25,000 which means that you cannot afford to have a dog and not have pet liability insurance. Domesticated or not, dogs are animals and even the most tame dog is capable of biting someone and causing injury.

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Pet Insurance for Dangerous Dog Breeds on Your Home Insurance Policy

Not all dogs are easily insurable, and some may actually be directly excluded from your home insurance policy.

It is very important to make sure if you have a reputed dangerous breed of pet that your insurance will cover them.

More insurance companies are denying pet liability insurance to home owners and as a result more states are mandating insurance companies to allow coverage.

Of course many dog owners would make the argument that there is no such thing as a “dangerous breed” of dog but rather dogs are only dangerous when not trained or handled properly. Whatever the case may be, most homeowners insurance companies handle different breeds of dogs differently.

Some breeds of dogs that are considered by insurance companies to be the most dangerous include:

  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • BoxersPit Bull
  • Chow Chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • German Shepherds
  • Great Danes
  • Presa Canarios
  • Bulldogs
  • Pit Bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Wolf Hybrids

Cross breeds of these types of dogs are also considered equally dangerous. These dogs are considered dangerous because of their risky temperament and aggressive nature (especially when not trained properly or cared for properly).

Accidental Injuries

However, not all dog related injury claims stem from bites or attacks. Even an accidental injury that is caused indirectly by a dog can lead to a pet liability claim.

Dogs tend to be jumpers, so if your dog jumps on someone to greet him and he falls down and breaks his arm as a result of the greeting, that person can file a claim against you.

There are so many variables when it comes to pets and responsibility that it is in your best interest to be sure your pet is covered either on your home insurance or through a separate pet liability insurance rider.

Insurance Companies Handle Pet Ownership Differently

Every insurance company addresses pet ownership differently. Some companies automatically include pets on your home insurance policy while others allow you to purchase pet liability insurance separately.

Some home insurance companies will include only certain breeds or will provide insurance on a case by case review based on the dog’s history of aggression (or lack thereof).

As a pet owner it is imperative to know if your pet is covered on your home insurance policy. Check your policy for inclusions as well as exclusions and discuss any concerns with your agent. To shop for no obligation quotes from home insurance companies, enter your zip code now!

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