What You Need to Know About Dogs and Home Insurance
In the United States, 67% of Americans (or a whopping 85 million households!) have a pet dog. If you are part of the statistics, it is safe to assume that you consider your dogs a part of the family. Unfortunately, insurance providers don’t feel the same way—they see pets as a liability.
If you are a dog owner, finding the right home insurance coverage can be tricky. While most homeowners consider getting home insurance a must, many get inferior policies, higher rates, or even blacklisting just because they own a dog.
Apart from protecting homeowners from theft, natural disasters, and other mishaps, home insurance also safeguards policyholders against lawsuits for damages and injuries caused by their pets.
Unfortunately, due to the rising cost of litigation for dog-related incidents, many insurance providers refuse to provide coverage for those who own certain dog breeds.
Dogs and Homeowners Insurance: Facts and Statistics
Below are some essential facts and statistics about home insurance and dog ownership.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that around 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually. One in five will require serious medical attention.
- In 2018, the average cost of an insurance claim related to a dog bite was estimated at $39, 017. That same year, dog bite insurance claims were over $675 million.
- Although the number of claims related to dog bites has decreased significantly, the cost of claims continues to rise.
- Most dog bite-related claims are from Illinois and California.
- While some states outlaw breed profiling, many insurance providers cancel or deny insurance coverage if you own a specific breed of dog.
If you have a pet dog, you must know the ins and outs of your home insurance policy and the extent of the coverage when it comes to dog-related claims.
Make it a point to check with your agent if your pet is covered under your policy. It is also recommended that you ensure that dog bites are specifically covered since it is the most prevalent claim filed.
Depending on bite history and breed, the insurance provider has the option to exclude your dog from your policy. In other words, while your home insurance is still in effect, it will not cover any damages caused by your dog.
Dogs Ownership and Home Insurance Rates
Typically, owning a dog won’t automatically affect your home insurance rate. However, several insurance providers have a “hot dog” list, which lists the types or breeds of restricted or prohibited dogs.
If your dog is on the “hot dog” list, there is a possibility that you will be paying higher rates or even denied coverage. Your dog’s bite history will also be considered. Insurers have the option to decline coverage if your dog has a bite history.
In similar cases, you can either look for another insurer or avail of specialized liability coverage for dogs on the hot dog list or those with a bite history.
Dog Breeds on the “Hot Dog” List
The dog types and breeds that are prohibited or restricted can vary from one insurance provider to another. However, the lists are more or less similar and may include the following:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Doberman Pinschers
- Presa Canarios
- Staffordshire Terriers
- Siberian Huskies
- Wolf Hybrids
- Great Danes
- Saint Bernards
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
- Alaskan Malamutes
At least 70% of homeowners take what is given to them rather than shopping around for home insurance. This should not be the case if you have a furry member of the family. Get to know all the basics of home insurance and dog ownership so you can protect your pet without spending a fortune.
About the Author:
Rachael Harper is the Content Marketing Strategist of Bennett & Porter, a wealth management and insurance firm based in Scottsdale, Arizona. When not writing, she makes use of her time reading books and playing bowling with her family and friends.