pet insurance

Are My Dogs Covered by Homeowner’s Policy?

Not to be mistaken for pet insurance, which covers many medical expenses for your four-legged companions, most homeowner policies do provide coverage for pets and any damage they may cause. This is not all-encompassing however, and there are exclusions involved in any policy. Keep these exclusions in mind when shopping for a policy that covers them, especially when it comes to dogs. Dogs present more of a challenge that other pets such as cats or birds. When an incident occurs involving a dog, it receives attention from the media that could escalate the situation beyond the truth, blaming the breed for the aggressive action rather than the individual dog or the dog’s owner. The influence of social media also affects a breed’s appearance in society, which in turn affects the breed’s standing with insurance companies.

Dwellings

Your house and any additional structures attached to your home such as a garage, sunroom,  or porch should be covered if they are damaged from an incident involving your dog. This would include replacing a window if your dog crashed into it while chasing a ball or if they accidentally started a fire by knocking over a lamp. What would not be covered would be anything on the property that is not connected to the house. Fences, storage sheds, and a separated garage would not be included should your pet cause damage to your home.

Personal Property

What exactly is covered in a homeowner’s policy will depend on the insurer. Most policies will not cover damage to your personal property that is expected from dogs, or they will provide options for supplemental coverage at an additional expense. While damage to select pieces or parts of furniture and equipment tend to be covered by insurance, chewing and scratching of walls, floors, and rugs are typically not. To know exactly what personal property is protected by a policy, consult your local agent.

Liability

This is the one that concerns the majority of pet owners and insurance companies alike. Approximately 65% of American households own a dog. At the same time, over 4.5 million Americans experience dog bites each year. This is a concern for insurance companies because this correlates to the majority of dog bites are happening in and around the home. Dog bites are usually covered by a homeowner’s policy. The breed of dog you own can increase your premiums, however. Insurers will look at a dog’s breed to determine eligibility. Some may refuse you coverage if you own a particular breed of dog, some may require you to sign a liability waiver to protect themselves from damages caused by a dog bite. Others still will require you to purchase additional coverage for your pet. Some of the breeds insurers are typically concerned with are Rottweilers,Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Akitas, and Mastiffs. To determine if your pet is covered under a homeowner’s policy, your local agent will be able to assist you.

Insurers use information based on a variety of studies to compile their lists of breeds they are unable to cover. Not all insurers discriminate against the breed. Many will take into account your pet’s bite history. They understand that any dog under certain stimuli can bite, no matter what the breed is.