Do You Own a Dog? Know How Much a Dog Adds to Your Home Insurance Cost?

Dogs are more than just pets; they are part of the family.

Know How Much a Dog Adds to Your Home Insurance Cost
Know How Much a Dog Adds to Your Home Insurance Cost

 

But did you know that having a dog can also impact your home insurance?

Depending on the breed, size, and behavior of your dog, you may pay more or less for your home insurance premium, have more or less coverage for dog-related incidents, and face more or less liability if your dog injures someone or damages their property.

In this article, I will explain how home insurance covers dogs, what dog breeds are restricted by some insurers, how much a dog can add to your home insurance cost, and what you can do to find the best policy for you and your dog.

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How does home insurance cover dogs?

Home insurance can provide liability protection to everyone in your family, including your four-legged friends.

If you have a dog or a cat, your policy’s liability coverage may offer protection if you are liable for injuries or damages caused by your pet.

Know How Much a Dog Adds to Your Home Insurance Cost
Know How Much a Dog Adds to Your Home Insurance Cost

However, there are certain exceptions and restrictions.

Home insurance won’t cover property damage or injury to occupants of your home caused by a pet, but generally covers claims that other parties make as a result of your pet’s actions, regardless of whether the incident happened at your home or elsewhere.

Coverage typically applies even if the pet is not in your care at the time of the incident, such as a friend pet sitting while you’re on vacation.

Pets may be covered under the liability limits of the owner’s home insurance policy, typically between $100,000 and $500,000.

Some pet owners choose to supplement their coverage with an additional umbrella policy. Pro tip: Your home insurance won’t cover damages or injuries you suffer due to another person’s pet.

In this instance, you may file a claim against the responsible pet owner’s homeowners or renters insurance policy.

What dog breeds are not covered by home insurance?

Since dog bite statistics show that certain breeds are more prone to biting than others, there are specific dog breeds homeowners insurance won’t cover. These vary by insurer, but often include the following breeds:

Dog breeds homeowners insurance won't cover (1)

If you own a dog that’s on an insurance company’s aggressive breed list, the insurer will likely include a clause in the policy that excludes your pet from coverage.

This means that you will have to pay out of pocket for any liability claims related to your dog.

Alternatively, the insurer may refuse to cover you at all based on your dog’s breed.

However, animal activist groups are pushing legislation that forbids or limits breed discrimination. Illinois, Nevada, and New York have all passed such legislation.

Some states also have laws that hold dog owners liable only if their dog has a history of biting or aggression, regardless of the breed.

How much does a dog add to your home insurance cost?

Having a dog can increase your cost for homeowners insurance, but the amount depends on several factors, such as:

  1.  The breed and size of your dog
  2. The number of dogs you own
  3. The history of claims or incidents involving your dog
  4. The liability limit and deductible of your policy

According to ValuePenguin, home insurance rates only go up by 1% for having a restricted dog breed, on average.

However, this may vary depending on the insurer and the state.

Some insurers may charge higher premiums for certain breeds, while others may not cover them at all.

Some states may also have higher or lower rates for dog owners, depending on the laws and regulations.

If your dog is not on the restricted breed list, it may not affect your home insurance cost at all, as long as you have no claims or incidents involving your dog.

However, if your dog causes damage or injury to someone else, you may see your rates go up or your coverage dropped.

If you own a dog, it’s best to get homeowners insurance with personal liability coverage of at least $300,000⁴. The breed and size of dog may affect this.

Some policies cap their personality liability coverage at $500,000, so you may want to look into personal liability umbrella coverage, which can provide an extra layer of protection for high-value claims.

What to do if your dog is not covered by home insurance?

If your dog is not covered by your current home insurance policy, you have a few options:

1.Shop around for a different insurer that covers your dog’s breed or offers more affordable rates.

You can compare quotes from multiple insurers online or with the help of an agent.

2.Consider getting a separate dog liability insurance policy, which can cover the costs of medical and legal expenses if your dog injures someone or damages their property.

This can be a good option if you have a restricted or high-risk breed, or if you want more coverage than your home insurance provides.

3.Train and socialize your dog to reduce the risk of biting or aggression.

You can also take preventive measures, such as keeping your dog on a leash, using a muzzle, or installing a fence around your property.

You may also want to get a certificate from a veterinarian or a trainer that attests to your dog’s temperament and behavior.

4.Review your state’s laws and regulations regarding dog ownership and liability.

Some states have strict liability laws that hold dog owners responsible for any harm their dog causes, regardless of the circumstances.

Other states have negligence or one-bite laws that hold dog owners liable only if they knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous or had a history of biting.

You should also check if your state has any breed-specific legislation that bans or restricts certain breeds of dogs.

FAQs

How do I know if my dog is on the restricted breed list?

The best way to find out if your dog is on the restricted breed list is to contact your insurer and ask them directly.

You may also want to check the policy documents and the exclusions section for any mention of dog breeds.

Keep in mind that some insurers may not have a specific list of restricted breeds, but may evaluate each dog on a case-by-case basis, depending on the size, weight, and history of the dog.

How can I lower my home insurance cost if I have a dog?

There are several ways to lower your home insurance cost if you have a dog, such as:

  1. Shopping around for a different insurer that offers lower rates or discounts for dog owners.
  2. Increasing your deductible, which can lower your premium, but also means you will pay more out of pocket for a claim.
  3.  Bundling your home insurance with other policies, such as auto or life insurance, which can save you money and simplify your payments.
  4. Installing security and safety features, such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or alarm systems, which can reduce the risk of damage or theft and lower your premium.
  5.  Maintaining a good credit score, which can show your insurer that you are a responsible and reliable customer and lower your premium.

What should I do if my dog bites someone or damages their property?

If your dog bites someone or damages their property, you should take the following steps:

  1. Seek medical attention for the injured person or animal, if needed
  2. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party, if possible
  3.  Report the incident to your insurer as soon as possible, and provide them with any details or evidence, such as photos, witnesses, or medical records.
  4.  Cooperate with your insurer and follow their instructions throughout the claim process.
  5. Review your policy and your coverage limits, and be prepared to pay any deductible or excess amount.
  6. Consult a lawyer if you are sued or face legal action as a result of the incident.

Conclusion

Owning a dog can bring joy and companionship to your life, but it can also affect your home insurance.

Depending on the breed, size, and behavior of your dog, you may pay more or less for your home insurance premium, have more or less coverage for dog-related incidents, and face more or less liability if your dog injures someone or damages their property.

To find the best policy for you and your dog, you should shop around for different insurers, compare quotes and coverage options, and consider getting a separate dog liability insurance policy if needed.

You should also train and socialize your dog, take preventive measures, and follow your state’s laws and regulations regarding dog ownership and liability.

By doing so, you can protect yourself, your dog, and your home from any potential risks or costs.

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