Should You Tell Your Homeowner's Insurance About Your Dog?

As a homeowner, it’s important that you have homeowner’s insurance. Most banks or loan agencies will not provide you with the money you need to buy your home unless you have insurance. While homeowner’s insurance is an added expense, it helps to cover the loss of certain items in certain events. For example, if your house were to catch on fire, your homeowner’s insurance would cover the cost of the damages in order to rebuild your home.

There are certain liabilities that insurance agencies take into account when giving you your coverage. For example, having a fireplace in your home may increase your rate because it’s considered a liability. Having a pool or trampoline in your yard may also increase your rate because they are considered a liability.
Along with things like fireplaces, trampolines and pools, dogs are also considered a liability. Due to the behavioral issues of some dogs, there are certain homeowner’s insurance companies that will not cover a homeowner if they have a certain breed of dog even if proper training and dog fencing is in place to keep the dog safe within his boundaries.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s important that you are honest with your insurance agency in order to get the most appropriate coverage, but if you have a dog breed that is considered a liability, you may find it too difficult or too expensive to do so. Should you tell your homeowner’s insurance about your dog?

Adding your dog to your coverage can cover you if injury occurs

If your dog were to bite someone, it’s possible that this person can sue you to cover his or her medical bills as well as cover any emotional damage or time they had to take off work. If your dog is covered on your homeowner’s insurance, this lawsuit will typically be covered by your homeowner’s insurance so you don’t have to pay any money out of pocket. If you don’t add your dog to your homeowner’s insurance and they bite someone, you will be responsible for paying all the legal costs out of your own pocket, and this can create a financial burden.

You may be denied coverage

Insurance companies may deny you coverage based on the breed of dog. Larger dogs can do more damage if they attack someone, so larger breeds may not be covered by your insurance agency. Some agencies also use a dog’s reputation to determine if they will be denied coverage. For example, Pit Bulls, Dobermans and Siberian Huskies are generally denied coverage, as their breed’s reputation makes them a liability.

So what are you supposed to do?

On one hand, you want to add your dog to your insurance so that you’re protected in case of an incident. On the other hand, you may not be able to find coverage if you have a dog listed as a “dangerous breed”, even though they may be the gentlest dog you’ve ever encountered. For liability reasons, you should add your dog to your insurance. If you’re having trouble finding an insurance provider, you should look into State Farm, Chubb Group or Einhorn Insurance, as they are known to insure individuals with “bully breeds” in order to combat the stereotype against Pit Bulls and the like.

Emily Grant is a volunteer for the ASPCA and frequent animal product reviewer who loves to write about pets in order to better educate pet owners.