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Animal Liability Coverage For Home Insurance

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Animal Liability Coverage For Home Insurance

Most folks have a pet and consider those pets as part of their family. According to the ASPCA, there are upwards of nearly 200 million pets in American households ranging from birds to chinchillas, to dogs, and beyond. Sadly, dependent upon what type of homeowners insurance you have, your insurer may not be as sentimental as you are when it comes to providing coverage for the little (or big) critter.

Homeowners coverage will standardly cover any type of damage that comes to your property or possessions and will protect you in the instance that a guest becomes injured while visiting your home. Does that carry over, though, if your pet happens to bite a visitor to your home or damages your neighbor’s property in some fashion?

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Are Pets Covered By Homeowners Insurance?

Generally, animals are covered by liability coverage if they injure someone or were to damage the property of another person. Pets do come with specific risk and certain pets are even riskier than others may be, causing the carrier to charge a higher premium or flat out deny coverage if it is a particular type of dog breed or perhaps an exotic type of animal that poses the likelihood of possibly biting or hurting folks.

Some carriers won’t even consider your specific dog’s demeanor, they will go based on the reputation of the particular breed or whatever kind of animal it may be when they make a decision as to whether to accept or deny coverage. It’s a good idea to call the insurer prior to bringing in a new animal into the home to see if it will be a covered pet under your policy. The recommendation is to get quotes from many carriers in order to avoid those with hefty pet-induced surcharges.

There are some insurers including Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, and Amica who will evaluate dogs based on behavior as well as history and won’t discriminate as to breed. If you have a so-called ‘dangerous’ breed, one of these carriers should be your go-to when looking for liability coverage. States like Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Michigan prohibit carriers from denying coverage for specific breeds to policyholders. That doesn’t mean you won’t pay higher prices.

What Is Covered Under Animal Liability

Even though homeowners will provide liability for the pets for instances where they bite or damage other people’s property, it doesn’t usually cover any type of damage to your own property or a resident in your house. If your dog chews on furniture or bites your child, you will need to pay those bills for yourself.

Prior to paying any claim, the insurance company is going to investigate the circumstances to prove liability is, in fact, yours. If you are liable, it should pay out any possible legal fees, medical costs, lost pay, pain/suffering up to limits of coverage of liability if the person decides to sue. Personal injury attorneys recommend that policyholders max their liability as much as they can if they have dogs, especially high-risk dog breeds, to as high as they are able to afford with instances of suits being significant.

It’s essential to protect the assets that you have in the likelihood that you are sued and anticipate the amount of financial devastation that you could suffer and then be sure that you are properly protected. No one wants to lose all that they have due to a harmful dog bite.

Unfortunately, if a carrier denies coverage, that is their privilege. They are free to do so as well as to set their premiums at a rate that they feel is appropriate. The only option that is available for you is to keep shopping until you find the right insurer and the right rate for you and your pet. This is the price we pay for the ones we love.

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