Are Dog Bites Covered Under Homeowners Insurance

If you own a dog, you know there are expenses. You cover the cost of food, veterinary bills, boarding fees when you travel, and other things like toys and grooming accessories. You may also have a pet health insurance policy to help cover the cost of treating serious illness, but it is essential to have a policy that protects you and your dog in the event of a biting incident. Some homeowners insurance policies include liability for dog bites, but you should research your options to make sure you are well covered.

How important is having a policy to cover liability when somebody is bitten and injured? It is estimated that close to five million people in the United States suffer a dog bite each year. Not all of those injured are attacked by strange strays, either – often the victim is a friend or relative of the dog’s owner. The degrees of severity will vary, too, and not everybody will file a claim.

USA Today reports that dog bites constitute more than a third of the overall liability claims paid out in 2011. With almost $500 million paid to victims as a result, it comes as no surprise that dog owners may be expected to shell out for higher premiums, and that may deter you from getting the right insurance. This can be risky – you can insist your dog wouldn’t hurt a fly, but are you willing to take chances?

Are dog bites covered under homeowners insurance? This largely depends on the following factors:

1) The insurance company. Does the company of your choice include dog bite liability in their plans? If so, for how much money can you insure your pet should he/she strike? Consult with your agent with regards to your options.

2) Your dog. You may be denied certain coverage by virtue of your dog’s breed. Pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are among the breeds that some insurers will not cover.

If you encounter obstacles in obtaining insurance because of your dog’s breed or the cost of the premium, don’t feel discouraged. There are ways you can work toward getting the protection you need.

1) Enroll your dog in a certified obedience training program. Taking the initiative to condition your dog so he/she behaves around others may help your case when you look for insurance. A company may be willing to give you a policy if you can prove your dog has received the proper training.

2) Research umbrella policies. As the name implies, “umbrella” insurance is designed to cover a broader range of liability than offered by other policies. If your homeowners insurance does include dog bites, your umbrella policy takes over.

Depending on the type of dog you own and other factors, you can enroll in home insurance that covers pet attacks, and protect your pet and home. If you do not have insurance in place, consult with agents and find the right plan for your family.