The Fine Print on your Homeowners Insurance Policy

If your dog bites the neighbor, will your homeowner’s insurance cover it? Pet owners should not be so quick to assume that the answer is yes. If you own one or more dogs, dig out your policy and read the fine print. Whether or not your homeowners policy covers dog bites depends on the state in which you reside and the terms and conditions of your insurance company.

Fine Print on your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Fine Print

Why pet owners need to read the fine print on their Homeowners Insurance Policy:

  • Dangerous Dog Breeds
    Most insurance companies will ask if you own a dog during the application process. These companies typically have a list of restricted, or dangerous, breeds that they will not provide coverage for. These breeds may include German Shepherd Dogs and Dobermans; check with your insurance company for a comprehensive list.
  • One Free Bite
    If your dogs breed is not excluded from your insurance policy, you need to be aware of the “one free bite” rule. If your  state has adopted this rule, it means that your dog can bite one person, one time and be covered. It also means that you will not be held liable for this first bite. This rule assumes that you had no prior knowledge that your dog may bite.
  • Coverage Limits of Insurance Plans
    When it comes to your pet, insurance plans typically have an upper limit when it comes to coverage. For instance, if your dog bites another pet insurance may cover the entire cost of veterinary care for the other pet. If, on the other hand, your dog bites a human and the injury is severe, there may be a limit on the amount of coverage for the human’s medical bills and lost wages.
  • Pet Health Insurance
    Pet insurance in general covers only your pets health. Some new coverage plans have now added liability insurance for instances, such as dog bites. Read your policy correctly to see if it does offer this benefit.
  • Insurance Rates 
    If you have a pet, insurance rates may rise for your policy. As you add dogs to your home, insurance rates can rise further. While you should always choose a dog breed that suits your family, you may also want to keep insurance costs in mind when selecting the dog that you will add to your family.

Any dog with teeth can bite; it’s a simple fact. Never assume that your homeowner’s insurance will cover the costs of a dog bite. If you have any questions regarding your specific coverage, contact your insurance agent for more information.

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*Pet owners in New York get a pro-rated refund.