Insurance Basics: Everything You Need to Know

What To Know About Homeowners Insurance Before You Get A Dog

If you've decided to rescue a dog from the shelter, one of the first things you should do is talk to your insurance agent. Your agent will want to know if you have a dog, especially if it's a breed that can be potentially aggressive. Owning a dog won't necessarily change your coverage or get your insurance canceled, but it's best to know up front rather than wait until you need to file a claim. Here are some things to know about how getting a new dog affects your homeowners insurance.

Some Insurers May Not Cover All Breeds

Insurance companies vary when it comes to the dog breeds they cover. Even if your dog is gentle, you may be denied coverage if it is a specific breed. Other companies base coverage on an individual basis. If your dog is considered a risky breed but it's working as a service dog, that could make a difference. The insurance company may also look at the training the dog has had and any past history of bites. If your insurance company won't cover your new dog, then you may want to look for a separate policy for your dog that handles cases like yours so you don't have to go without coverage.

Dog Bites Are Covered Under Liability Insurance

One part of homeowners insurance is liability coverage. This is what protects you if your dog bites someone. This can pay for medical damages up to the limit of your policy. If you have a large dog or an aggressive breed, you may want to carry a higher amount of liability insurance because after the limit has paid, you'll be responsible for the rest of the costs yourself. One possible way to get extra coverage for very expensive claims is to add an umbrella coverage to your policy; however, it will have to approve coverage for the type of dog you have to be useful.

Your Dog Could Increase Your Insurance Rates

If you've already fallen in love with a dog that's a high-risk breed, then be prepared to pay a higher insurance premium for coverage. If you're still looking for a dog to rescue, then by talking to your homeowners insurance agent first, you'll know the type of dogs you may want to steer away from just so you won't have a hike in your insurance bill. Even if coverage is expensive for the dog you choose or if you have to buy a separate policy for the dog, it's worth it to get coverage. Even a small bite that only needs first aid at the emergency room could cost a lot of money. If your dog bites a child and causes psychological harm or if your dog bites someone in the face and causes a need for expensive cosmetic surgery, you could be wiped out financially if you don't have insurance for your dog.