Finding Homeowner’s Liability Insurance For Dogs


WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero

UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 22, 2022 | 2 MIN READ

For dog owners, homeowners liability insurance is a must. It protects the owner from financial losses if their dog causes injury or damages to other people or property. A lot of companies offer this type of insurance.

However, if you’re considering getting a dog liability policy, it’s important to know your options and the costs in case anything happens with your dog.

Does My Home Insurance Cover My Dog?

Most homeowners insurance companies offer pet owners policies that cover pets in the home, so long as they aren’t a threat to other family members. This means that if you have an indoor dog, it should be covered by your policy. If you have an outdoor dog, it will depend on what kind of homeowners coverage you have selected in your policy.

Why Do I Need to Have Dog Liability Insurance?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), 29 states have liability laws that hold dog owners responsible for their pet’s actions. Some exceptions include if the dog was provoked.

The average cost of dog bite claims has risen by 39% between 2012 and 2021. This is due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements which are trending upwards.

Animal liability insurance can give pet owners peace of mind that they’re protected from claims for medical payments due to bodily injuries that their pets cause.

What Does My Home Insurance Policy Cover My Dog For?

Your liability coverage will protect you from claims against you should your dog injure someone.

A homeowners insurance policy may also include coverage for medical expenses related to the injury, which can be significant if the victim needs to go to the hospital for treatment.

Some homeowners’ policies will cover all types of injuries, while others will only cover damages on your property.

Do I Have to Add My Dog to My Insurance Policy?

Whether to add your dog to your insurance policy can get tricky. The answer depends on the type of policy you have and the type of insurance coverage you want.

It is important to note that not all policies cover animals, so it’s important to read the fine print before purchasing a new policy. The best way to determine whether you need to include your dog in the policy is by calling your insurance company.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

In general, homeowners insurance policies cover injuries caused by animals, but it’s important to understand your policy’s limitations.

For example, suppose your policy only covers injuries caused by a pet on your property. In that case, it doesn’t cover injuries to someone who comes in contact with an animal on someone else’s property.

Are There Any Coverage Limitations?

There are some limitations in coverage, which vary by insurance provider and state, but typically can include:

  • Property damage: Damage caused to your home by your pet will not be covered.
  • Injuries to yourself: If your dog bites and injures you, you won’t be able to claim on your insurance for any medical bills incurred.
  • History of bites: If your dog has a bite history, you won’t be covered for future dog bites.

Which Breeds are More Difficult to Cover?

Unfortunately, some pet owners may need to be aware of exclusions to their policy; not all are dog-friendly. Dogs considered dangerous breeds are likely not covered on your standard homeowners insurance policy.

Which Breeds Won’t be Covered?

Breeds that are unlikely to be covered include the following:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Bull terrier
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff
  • Pitbull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian husky
  • Staffordshire terrier
  • Wolf hybrid

Pretty much anything that can be considered to be a dangerous dog will be excluded from your policy by home insurance companies.

Alternative Insurance Options For People With Restricted Dog Breeds

If you have a restricted dog breed, you’ll most likely want to look into different coverage options.

Canine liability insurance

This is typically provided by smaller insurance companies but covers any dog breed. Only some insurers offer this, so you might be better off speaking to an insurance agent who can point you in the right direction.

Umbrella policy

Because the costs associated with dog bites can be so high, an umbrella policy is usually a good idea to ensure you have the highest level of coverage. Umbrella policies cover gaps between what your standard insurance will pay and the full cost of an insurance claim.

Tips to Prevent Dog Bites

There are many ways to keep your home safe from a liability claim when you have dogs in the house. Here are some best practices for homeowners to protect their homes against dogs and keep them safe from liability claims.

Adopt an appropriate dog

Dogs are a popular pet for many families, but choosing the right breed can be tough. For example, some dogs may not get along well with other pets in your home and yard, while others may not be suited for apartment life. A professional can help you find the best-suited breed and ensure that your new friend is a pleasure.

Socialization

Many people are becoming familiar with the idea of socializing their dogs. This popular practice helps your dog learn to behave appropriately in public. It helps build trust and makes your pet happier and more confident.

Children and dogs

It’s essential to teach children good manners and how to treat animals. Most people agree that it’s best to discourage children from disturbing a dog eating or sleeping.

Avoid uncomfortable situations

Some dogs are more scared or irritated in some instances. These can include meeting new people, visiting the vet, and attending a party. If these things make your dog fearful and anxious, you might want to try avoiding them for now until the dog can handle them easily.

FAQs

Should I put my dog on my homeowners insurance?

The liability portion of homeowners insurance usually covers injuries and damage caused by your dog, such as property damage or bites. It also covers the damage your dog does to others and their property.

It’s important to make sure that you notify your insurance company of your dog. You need to ensure you have the correct coverage, as some insurance companies may not cover damage made by certain breeds of dogs.

Can you add pet insurance to house insurance?

If the liability section of your home insurance policy has restrictions relating to the breed of dog, you could look for a dog-specific liability policy. These policies will cover damage or injury caused by your dog.

You may have to go through specialized pet insurance for this coverage. It is sometimes possible to get this type of policy bundled with your home insurance coverage. You can contact your insurer for advice

How much does a dog add to homeowners insurance?

Adding a dog to your home insurance policy will likely increase your premiums. However, the actual dollar amount will depend on your state, the breed of dog you have, and your individual insurer’s policies.

What breed of dogs aren’t covered by homeowners insurance?

The most common dog breeds to have restrictions or be prohibited by home insurance are; rottweilers, pit bulls, and wolf hybrids. Although, the restrictions vary by provider and state.

Some other examples of dog breeds that could have home insurance policy restrictions are:

  • Great Danes
  • Chow Chows
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • German Shepherds

How do I know what insurance to get for my dog?

When it comes to pet insurance policies, there are three types of coverage: accident-only, accident and illness, and wellness plans.

Accident-only plans will only cover injuries, whereas you can get coverage for injury and illness with an accident and illness policy.

Wellness plans tend to cover the cost of preventative care, such as vaccinations or check-up appointments.

Can homeowners insurance drop you because of a dog bite?

Unless your dog is a restricted or prohibited breed on your home insurance policy, the insurance should cover the costs if your dog bites or injures someone.

However, if you make a dog bite claim, you may struggle to keep the same insurance coverage you previously had. Your insurance company could refuse to renew your coverage or state that your dog is excluded from the coverage.

Some of the dog breeds that are very likely to be covered by a homeowners insurance policy include:

  • Pug
  • Collie
  • Beagle
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • French Bulldog
  • Irish Setter
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Newfoundland

What is a homeowners insurance deductible?

The deductible is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in. The higher the deductible, the more your insurance company will pay for repairs and replacements. In some cases, deductibles may be waived if you meet certain qualifications, such as being a homeowner with a certain number of years.

Is it worth getting homeowners insurance with a dog?

Damage and injuries by dogs are very common insurance claims. So if you have a dog, it’s important to ensure your costs are covered should your dog cause any damage or injury. Find out if your home insurance policy will cover your dog. If so, you won’t need a separate liability coverage policy. If not, talk to your provider; they can help you decide what would work best for your situation.

What is the top dog breed most likely to bite?

Rottweilers are large, robust dogs that aren’t always easy to handle and can sometimes pose a threat. They have strong protective instincts that make them one breed most likely to bite a human.

How to Get Homeowners Liability Insurance for Dogs

In the United States, homeowners are required to have homeowners insurance. This insurance covers damages that may happen to a home and its contents. In most cases, the homeowners insurance covers damage and injury caused by animals.

However, if you own a dog that is not well trained or has behavioral problems such as aggression, you may need to purchase additional coverage for your dog. Compare insurance quotes to ensure you have the right level of coverage for your circumstances.