What to Know about Homeowners’ Insurance and Dog Bites

Your dog is more like a family member than a pet. While it is normally friendly around you, it may act up if it is around a lot of strangers or is at some unfamiliar place. It may also be extra protective at your home if you have guests that start to get a little out of hand. It may only be trying to protect you, but if it bites one of your guests, you will be liable for their injuries and any medical expenses that may result from the incident.

General Liability

In most situations, a dog bit will be covered by your homeowners’ insurance whether you are at home or away. The primary exceptions are if your dog has a history of biting or if it is one of the excluded breeds. Many insurance companies have a list of breeds that they consider high-risk. The list includes some of the following breeds:

  • Pit bulls
  • German Shepherd
  • Rottweiler
  • Akita
  • Mastiffs
  • Siberian Huskies

This is only a partial listing. It’s good to remember that not all insurance carriers have the same list. The list may also change from time to time.

Determining Your Dog’s Bite Risk

If you are trying to determine whether or not your dog will be covered under the general liability policy, you will need to check a couple of things. You will need to find out if your dog’s breed is on the excluded list. Next, you will have to look at your dog’s history. If they have bitten people in the past for any reason, they may be classified as high risk and not eligible for coverage.

An Excluded Breed

Dogs that fall on the excluded breed list are known for acts of violence. Not every dog is mean, and much of their temperament is based on how they are raised. Many of the more violent breeds are taught to attack as part of their work. Police dogs, for example, are taught to bring down criminals. This may mean tackling, biting, or knocking them down. It could also mean a combination of whatever means may be necessary.

Supplemental Insurance

If you have a dog that falls on the excluded breeds list, it doesn’t mean you can’t get homeowners’ coverage. What it actually means is that you will need to purchase a supplemental policy just for them. This policy covers the additional risk you may face when you have your dog out in public or guests visiting your home. You can minimize part of your risk by taking preventive measures while you have your dog in public. Using a muzzle will prevent biting, while a privacy fence around your yard will keep the public from getting near the dog.

Buying homeowners’ insurance when you have a large dog can be daunting. However, you may need to follow the insurance company’s rules when it comes to coverage. Taking precautions is one thing, but you may have to purchase additional coverage for an excluded breed. Contact our agents at Duane Weber Insurance, Inc. if you have any questions. We understand your frustration and can help make the process of buying insurance much easier.