According to the American Pet Producer’s Association, over 63 million American Households include mankind’s best friend. This is probably why dog-related injuries are the most common liability claim on homeowner’s insurance policies. These claims include not only dog bites but also dogs knocking down children, cyclists, pedestrians, etc., all of which can result in severe injuries. Even your cute, little, lap dog may cause someone to fall.
Although many homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog liability up to the policy limits, there are quite a few exceptions. It is important to note that even if your homeowner’s policy covers dog injuries, any damages above your liability limits could put you on the hook personally for the additional losses.
In addition, some insurance companies will not insure homeowners with dogs who they believe to be a “dangerous” breed, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers. Others decide on a case by case basis whether an individual dog, regardless of breed, has a past history. Once the dog has bitten someone, the insurance company may charge a higher premium or exclude the dog, or their owner, from coverage altogether.
Finally, some insurance companies have an absolute or total dog injury exclusion and others are only willing to cover a certain amount below the policy limits for injuries caused by a dog. For instance, you may have a $300,000 liability limit but the company will limit your coverage to $50,000 for dog related injuries.
The best way to find out how your homeowner’s insurance policy handles your canine best friend is to either read the policy or call the company.