Home Insurance and Dogs
This month, account manager Ann Hurley writes about dogs, how your home insurance policy addresses them, and things you can do as a responsible dog owner to protect yourself and others.
Did you know there are nearly 80 million dogs in US households? That means 63% of homes have at least one dog! These furry family members offer love, laughter, companionship but also potential liabilities – some of which can be taken care of by your insurance policy, while others cannot…
With most home insurance, renters insurance and condo insurance, you have financial protection against liability claims, these are lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage your dog causes to someone else. Please remember, that it does not cover against damage your dog does to your home, or for any injuries caused to members of your household, only property damage and injuries to others!
Please be aware that an insurance company will pay your liability for a dog bite, scratch or other injury, but quite often there are significant limitations for future dog bites. Up to and including NO COVERAGE!
Keep in mind, your dog has many potential triggers for biting: fear, protection and shows of dominance, to name a few. The best way to prevent a claim and keep your dog safe is to use good judgment in caring for your pet, here are a few tips:
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Don’t leave your dog unattended
- Strangers, especially children, can be trigger points for a dog’s aggressive or excited behavior. Even a well-intentioned greeting from a dog can be more than a small child can handle. Be aware of your surroundings! Know your dog and be aware of what types of situations trigger unusual reactions.
- When you sense your dog getting agitated or excited, let people and children approaching know to keep their distance, or, remove your dog from the situation entirely.
- Tie a red bandana onto your dog’s leash. This can warn potential dog lovers that they need to exercise caution around your pet.
- Be in control of your dog, you rule the roost. In addition, if your dog senses apprehension in you, it can trigger your dog to go into protection mode.
- Check into training and obedience classes.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Spayed or neutered dogs are three times less likely to bite.
- Socialize your dog. Dog parks, puppy classes, doggy daycares, and even some pet stores offer chances to socialize your dogs with others.
- Following these tips not only protects the people your pet may interact with, but it protects your dog and its wellbeing.
Know your dog and be aware of what types of situations trigger unusual responses
Also, ask your insurance agent about exclusions for specific dog breeds. Here are some common examples of breeds that insurance companies have limitations or exclusions on: Akitas, Rottweilers, Wolf half breeds, and Chows. These are just a few and can vary from company to company.
One way to add an additional layer of protection is to purchase an umbrella policy. Not only will this give you a larger limit for dog related claims, but it will apply to other areas of liability such as Home and Auto Liability. The cost is generally low for this additional coverage.
Please call Midwest Insurance Group if you should have any additional questions and our staff will be happy to assist you!