No matter how well-behaved a dog is most of the time, an animal that is frightened or provoked may bite someone. Many canines that bite people are good-natured animals that have never bitten anyone before.
If your dog bites someone, your homeowners insurance policy may cover the victim’s medical bills, as well as associated legal fees if you get sued. If you didn’t have a dog when you took out your homeowners insurance policy and you get one later on, be sure to let your insurer know about your new pet.
Find Out If Your Dog Is Covered
Don’t assume that your homeowners insurance policy will cover your dog. You have a responsibility to contact the company, let a representative know that you have a dog and inquire about coverage.
Some insurance companies exclude specific breeds that are statistically more likely to bite than other breeds. In some cases, an insurer decides whether to cover dogs on a case-by-case basis. Your insurance company may ask about training your dog has received and may even request an evaluation to decide whether or not to cover the animal.
If your dog is covered and you file a claim related to a dog bite, it will fall under your homeowners insurance policy’s liability portion. The policy will cover medical bills and legal expenses, up to your coverage limit. Your homeowners insurance won’t cover damage that your dog causes to your own house or belongings.
Expect to Pay More for Insurance With a Dog
Homeowners insurance companies charge higher rates for policyholders who have dogs due to the risk of costly bite-related claims. Even though your premiums will likely go up after you get a dog, the extra money will be worth it if your pet bites someone.
The additional amount that you’ll pay in premiums will likely be much less than the cost of medical and legal bills. If you don’t let the company know about your dog and don’t pay an appropriate premium, you’ll be out of luck if you try to file a claim.
Make Sure You Have the Right Insurance Coverage
Your policy may cover dog bites, but you will have to let the insurance company know that you have a dog. If you don’t tell the company about your new pet, the dog bites someone and you file a claim, it will be denied.
If you have a dog that belongs to a breed that your homeowners insurance company doesn’t cover and the dog bites someone, you’ll have to cover related expenses yourself. If you contact your insurer and find out that it won’t cover your dog, get in touch with other companies that cover your breed, request quotes and switch to an insurer that will provide you with the coverage you need at an affordable rate.