Your homeowners insurance is written to protect you from financial loss. This includes covering any damages caused by your pets. Dogs, in particular, have been known to be somewhat of a risk. If your dog bites someone, your insurer can be partly liable to pay for any claims against you. While most insurers offer coverage to homeowners who own dogs, many put limits on specific breeds. Even if your homeowners insurance does not cover your dog, you do have options for coverage.
Here are some tips to get the appropriate homeowners insurance with dogs.
Many insurance companies have blacklisted several dog breeds. Pit-bulls, Akitas, Chows, Dobermans, and German shepherds are often at the top of the list. While these dogs seem to be the most prone to violence, even chihuahuas, spaniels, and the small terrier breeds are known for aggressive behavior and biting. You must be as honest as possible about your dog and its past behavior. You should inform your insurance company about your dog’s breed truthfully to ensure that you are adequately covered in case of a pet-related accident. While the breed is a significant consideration, it is not a deal-breaker as you still have other options.
When it comes to the dog’s effect on homeowners insurance, several liability issues must be considered. First and foremost is the biting problem. Millions of people are bitten each year by dogs resulting in days off from work and millions of dollars in medical bills. Other liability issues include damage to property if your dog leaves your yard. Another risk is a loose pet causing a car accident if it runs into the road. You can increase the amount of liability coverage for an additional charge.
If you expect your insurance company to cover your pet, you need to take the necessary steps to maintain control of it. Put up a fence around your yard to keep your pet from running away. Always put your dog on a leash when you go for a walk or have them outside your fenced-in area. If your dog is known to bark excessively or possibly bite, put a muzzle on it when you go for a walk.
If your homeowners insurance does not cover your dog because of its breed, some companies offer standalone policies explicitly written for covering pet liability. Standalone coverages are more expensive, but they offer a coverage level that your traditional homeowners policy does not.
Many insurance companies will loosen their restrictions on your dog if you both can complete an approved obedience training course. Obedience training is not a guarantee that your pet will never misbehave, but it does offer the reassurance that the risk is considerably less than with an untrained animal.
Your dog is like a valuable member of your family. Finding the right homeowners insurance to cover both your home and your dog may be a challenge, but you do have options. Contact us at Phocus Insurance Services if you have questions about your coverage and how much it will cost to add a dog to your policy. Discuss your options with our agents so that you understand what is covered and what is not.
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