Last year, dog bites accounted for more than 1/3 of all homeowner liability claims (Insurance Information Institute). Each company will have their own policy regarding dog owners, but there are some important factors to consider if you own a dog or are considering the addition to your family. At Wateridge, we understand that your pet is a valuable part of your family and we want to help you understand how your homeowners' policy coverages work in regards to your furry friends.
Many carriers follow the "one bite rule" and will provide coverage if one claim is filed resulting from a dog bite. However, they may exclude your dog in the future, raise your premiums or even drop your policy altogether. Other companies have breed restrictions regardless of the bite history, or lack thereof.
These, so called, "dangerous breeds" may require you to shop around for a carrier that has fewer restrictions.
No matter what you should never be uninsured against dog bites as the average claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute, is $27,862. Whether you agree with the list of breed exclusions or not, the expense of a claim could be potentially devastating. We recommend you carry a minimum liability equal to your assets, and most importantly take responsibility to prevent a bite in the first place.
If you are a landlord, you should ask if your tenants have animals. If they do, find out the breed and if it acceptable to the landlords' policy. Also, landlords should require tenants to have renters' insurance.
Keeping your dog on a leash at all times as well as using caution when introducing them to a new environment or unfamiliar situation will go a long way in keeping you and your dog safe and happy.