Did you know that having a dog could affect your ability to obtain homeowners insurance? If an insurance company is willing to cover you, owning a pup can bump up their rates for a homeowners insurance policy. Before you get discouraged or fear having to stretch your budget for an unaffordable homeowners insurance policy, let’s take a look at how much you really need to add to your policy to cover your four-legged friend.
What We'll Cover
- Why Do You Need Coverage for Your Dog in Your Homeowners Insurance Policy?
- Your Dog’s Breed May Affect Coverage for Homeowners Insurance
- Finding an Insurance Company That Will Cover Dogs
- How to Increase Your Chances of Obtaining Homeowners Insurance That Covers Dogs
- Homeowners Insurance with Dogs: Difficult but Not Impossible
If you own a dog, it’s best to get homeowners insurance with personal liability coverage of at least $300,000. 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.
When looking for a homeowners insurance policy that will cover you in the event of an incident involving your dog, it’s best to err on the side of caution and go for the highest coverage policy you can afford. Read on to find out why homeowners insurance coverage for your dog is essential and how to find an insurance company that is willing to cover your pup, regardless of breed.
Why Do You Need Coverage for Your Dog in Your Homeowners Insurance Policy?
You may think that homeowners insurance is just meant to protect your belongings in the event of theft or a natural disaster. However, homeowners insurance is also needed if someone is injured on your property. That includes any injuries that may occur from your furry friend.
Unfortunately, if someone gets bit by your dog on your property, they can sue you. Having coverage for your dog in your homeowners insurance policy can protect you from possible financial ruin if this were to happen. And since lawsuits have become more costly, averaging over $39,017 per claim in 2018, some insurance companies are opting to skirt the issue altogether by refusing to insure dog owners.
Although the average cost of a lawsuit involving a dog-related incident is just under $40,000, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to take the minimum personal liability coverage of $100,000 offered by most homeowners insurance policies. In addition to legal fees, the cost of medical bills and compensation for pain and suffering can run the entire tab for the lawsuit up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Your Dog’s Breed May Affect Coverage for Homeowners Insurance
Sadly, some dog breeds have a negative reputation for being more aggressive and prone to biting. Pitbulls top the list by far, with Rottweilers and German shepherds trailing behind in second and third place. Regardless of how sweet and passive your dog may be, you may still have a harder time obtaining homeowners insurance if your dog belongs to a breed assumed to be more problematic.
If your dog belongs to one of the following breeds, you may run into some obstacles obtaining homeowners insurance:
- German Shepherd
- Alaskan Malamute
- Chow Chow
- Siberian Husky
- Wolf-Dog Hybrid
There are a few states that have banned breed profiling, particularly Michigan and Pennsylvania, so you’ll have an easier time finding coverage there. In most other states, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent insurance companies from this bias so it will more worth your time to focus on finding an insurance company that doesn’t subscribe to the stigma about certain breeds of dogs.
If you already have a homeowners insurance policy that refuses to your cover your dog based on breed, Texas veterinarian Sara Ochoa, D.V.M. suggests having a conversation with your insurance agent to see if they’re willing to compromise if you can provide a statement of your dog’s temperament from your veterinarian.
Finding an Insurance Company That Will Cover Dogs
Owning a dog can make it harder to secure a homeowners insurance policy since there are insurance companies that refuse to cover people with dogs. Other companies may insure your pooch but may only do so at a higher rate than someone without pets. As unfair as this seems, there are still insurance companies that won’t penalize you for having a four-legged family member.
To save you the time and frustration of sifting through a long list of homeowners insurance policies to find one that is pet-friendly and affordable, we’ll go over some reliable options for you.
There are several insurance companies that will consider coverage for dogs on an individual basis rather than banning certain breeds across the board. To get approved, you may need to provide some information from your veterinarian or have your dog complete training or other programs that focus on temperament and behavior.
Some insurance companies that have been known not to discriminate against specific dog breeds when providing homeowners insurance coverage are:
Here are some additional tips for finding homeowners insurance that will cover your dog:
- Don’t give up after speaking to one agent. If the first agent you speak to from an insurance carrier refuses to consider you for a policy that covers your dog, don’t take that as a solid rejection from the carrier. Try speaking with a different agent to see if they’re willing to consider on an individual basis. Offer to provide veterinarian paperwork or proof of obedience training.
- Reach out to your state insurance commissioner. Each state is different so to get the most relevant information on which insurance companies offer homeowners insurance policies that cover dogs in your state, contact your state insurance commissioner. They can also take a look at any rejections you’ve received for coverage to see if it falls within the legal guidelines.
- Consider personal liability umbrella coverage. You also have the option of purchasing a separate insurance policy just for your dog. This may not be the most cost-effective option but it’s better than not having coverage in the event of an incident.
You can purchase umbrella coverage as a standalone policy for your dog if your insurance company won’t let you add your dog. If your homeowners insurance does cover your dog but you want additional coverage for peace of mind, you can add on umbrella coverage to your existing policy.
How to Increase Your Chances of Obtaining Homeowners Insurance That Covers Dogs
There are some actions you can take to increase the likelihood of obtaining affordable homeowners insurance coverage that includes your dog.
To help boost your chances of getting approved for homeowners insurance that will cover your dog:
- Stay current on veterinarian visits so you can obtain a reliable temperament statement if needed
- Sign up your dog for obedience classes.
- Check out the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen program.
Homeowners Insurance with Dogs: Difficult but Not Impossible
As you can see, having a dog can throw a wrench in things when you’re trying to secure adequate coverage in your homeowners insurance policy. Although it may be a bit more work trying to find coverage for your dog, it’s certainly worthwhile to have your dog insured. Accidents can happen and you don’t want to be caught without coverage for incidents involving your pooch.
Be sure to get your dog up-to-date on veterinarian visits and sign up for obedience classes or get involved in one of the AKC programs to build up your dog’s positive reputation. Reach out to some of the dog-friendly insurance companies listed above to see what kind of coverage they can provide. Add on umbrella coverage if their policy isn’t substantial enough.
You’ll find that the peace of mind of a homeowners insurance policy with coverage for your dog is worthwhile and can save you from a messy financial situation in the future.