Getting a dog means gaining a best friend; but it also means taking on a substantial liability. Even if your dog is a wonderful pet 99% of the time, there is still the 1% of the time that their wild instincts might arise. If they were to cause harm to others, then it might be your responsibility to pay for the damage.
If your pet were to bite someone, then your homeowners insurance can often be of assistance. However, you must ensure that your plan contains the appropriate pet bite liability insurance. Additionally, take a close look to see whether your plan includes and “aggressive breeds” exclusion on this coverage, which might be a further limitation on how you can address accidents your pet causes.
How Home Insurance Addresses Dog Breeds
Your dog might be your best friend, but it’s still an animal and it can be very unpredictable. It often doesn’t take much prodding for your dog’s wild instincts to come out and when they do, the results might not be pretty.
When your pet gets wild, they might bite someone, or perhaps do damage to someone else’s property. This is where they demonstrate the risk they pose to you by having them.
Suppose, for example, that a friend comes to visit you and while playing with your dog, they get bitten in a wrong place/wrong time injury. Under the circumstances, your friend might face significant medical bills, lost income and other recovery costs. They might request that you compensate them—since it was your dog that caused the injury—and some might even sue you.
At this point, your home insurance’s liability coverage will provide coverage for your friend’s losses on the condition that you have a pet bite liability benefit within the plan. However, even with this coverage included, certain dog breeds might still be excluded from the policy.
Some dog breeds have statistically higher risks of harming others, and as a result some insurers consider them “aggressive” breeds that they cannot realistically cover. Even if your dog is well-trained and docile most of the time, your policy will not recognize this distinction.
Minimizing Dog Bite Risks in Your Home
Regardless of whether you home insurance plan covers your breed, there’s still a lot you can do to keep your risk of a pet bite occurring:
Be sure your dog is social with other dogs and humans beyond your family.
Be sure the dog has a rabies vaccination.
When you are out in public, put the dog on a leash. Never have the dog out of your reach.
Teach dogs to obey your commands through proper training.
Never leave your dog unattended with strangers or children of any age.
Taking these steps protects both anyone who interacts with your dog, and protects your pet itself. In the end, you’ll create a more secure environment for everyone and can reduce liabilities that might at times strain your home insurance.