How Does Having a Dog Impact Your Homeowner’s Insurance?
Dogs are wonderful additions to any home and family. Think of how many of us refer to them as our “fur babies.” Before you make the commitment to a new four legged family member, you’re going to need to do your research and understand how having a dog can and will impact your homeowner’s insurance.
Limit Your Liability
Your homeowner’s insurance has a very specific goal in mind: limiting your liability, and therefore the claims that will be paid. Dogs, regardless of breed, represent a certain amount of liability to any homeowner. According to the CDC, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, with nearly 900,000 needing medical treatment.
When a dog bite occurs in your home to a guest, your liability insurance covers the medical costs and any potential lawsuits. Some dog bites are worse than others, and sometimes it’s not a bad dog, but a badly trained dog. You can limit your own liability by taking care of your dog in a variety of ways:
- Educate yourself about the breed of dog you have
- Spay or neuter your dog
- Keep your dog on a leash while outside
- Socialize your dog so they understand how to behave around other people and animals
- Never leave your dog alone with strangers, especially children
- Keep your dog’s vaccinations, especially rabies, current.
Some insurance companies refuse to extend coverage to people who own specific breeds. Others charge higher premiums depending on the breed of your dog. Sometimes it’s not about the aggressiveness of the dog. Certain breeds, such as Dachshund and Chihuahuas are known for being very aggressive and yet many homeowners have no problems with their insurance.
The biggest issue stems from the amount of damage a bite can do. Large, muscular dogs, even though they’re no more aggressive than other dogs, may be difficult to insure because their bites are particularly nasty and expensive to treat. Pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies are just a few breeds that may not be approved by your homeowner’s insurance.
What You Can Do
Before bringing your fur baby home, talk to your insurance agent. Find out what your homeowner’s insurance policy allows. If you’re determined to have a specific breed or type of dog, you may need to shop around for a new homeowner’s insurance policy that will allow that kind of dog. Be prepared to pay higher premiums.
Before you adopt the first set of big brown eyes on four furry legs you fall in love with, you need to know how your new family member will affect your homeowner’s insurance. Once you understand that and you have a plan, feel free to grow your family and save a life at the same time.