How a Dog Affects Your Homeowners Insurance



The bottom line is that no matter how well behaved a dog is, there is a chance that the dog could bite someone.  Because the chance of a dog bite exists, it must be insured against.  Just like anything that can cause potential harm to another person, owning a dog is a factor when underwriting your homeowners and condo insurance policy that insurance companies take very seriously. Carriers calculate the risk of dog bites into their homeowners and condo insurance policies, just like they would consider damages caused by a pool or trampoline.  Simply put: dogs can become a liability, and with certain breed of dogs, that risk is reflected in the cost of the homeowners and condo insurance policies.


Did you know that approximately 1/3rd of all homeowners claims involves a dog bite, costing insurance companies well over 300 million dollars annually.


Contained within your homeowners policy is liability protection.  Liability protection covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to other people. It also pays for damage caused by your pets, such as a dog bite.


The liability portion of your policy pays for both the cost of defending you in court and any court awards—up to the limit of your policy.  Liability limits generally start at about $100,000, however, most professionals recommend that you purchase at least $300,000 worth of protection.  Some people feel more comfortable with even more coverage.  You can purchase an umbrella or excess liability policy which provides broader coverage, as well as higher liability limits. Generally, umbrella policies cost between $200 to $350 for $1 million of additional liability protection.


The best way to prevent such a tragedy is to keep dog bites from ever happening. The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and the Humane Society suggest that you:


  • Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household and neighborhood.
  • Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home of with an infant or toddler. Dogs with histories of aggression are inappropriate in households with children.
  • Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog and, if so, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
  • Have your dog spayed or neutered. Studies show that dogs are three times more likely to bite if they are not neutered.
  • Socialize your dog so that it knows how to act with other people and animals.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response.
  • Teach children pet safety tips and review them regularly. Children should always ask the owner for permission before they pet a dog.
  • Always practice safe behavior around dogs. Like many kinds of pets, dogs need to be respected as animals that, under certain conditions, could hurt you. Never tease a dog. Teasing can make a dog angry or frustrated enough to bite.


Here is the list of breeds that come affect your insurance premiums:


  • Akita
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Chow
  • Dingo
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Husky
  • Italian Mastiff (Cane Corso)
  • Malamute
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Wolf
  • A mix of any of the above


Contact us to see if you can save money on your insurance by speaking to a professional independent insurance agent at Journey Insurance.


Let us sift through the hundreds of insurance programs to find you the most competitive rates available.  Let us do the paperwork while you spend your time doing something you actually enjoy!


Journey Insurance Agency * Irvine, California * 888.323.7480


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