Separate insurance for dogs is often not necessary because in many situations, any liability related to dogs and other pets may be covered by your homeowners insurance or a renters insurance policy. Both of these types of insurance cover both sides. For example, in a dog bite case; the victim’s insurance will protect the victim while the dog owner’s insurance policy will cover the dog owner.
However, in certain cases, you may consider getting a different type of insurance for your dog or other type of pet. Dog-related damage is a leading cause of homeowner’s insurance claims.
Some pet owners may consider animal liability coverage to be essential as most insurance companies limit dog bite insurance coverage, restrict certain breeds from coverage or they may exclude animal liability coverage altogether. Also, most housing communities such as apartments and condos have provisions for how to maintain and insure a dog.
When is Dog Liability Insurance Necessary?
Although many individuals who have homeowners or renters insurance may be covered, because of the restrictions on dog cases imposed by many insurance companies, you may need a different type of insurance as well. Any dog can potentially cause some injuries or damages to your neighbor but a dog which is bigger or which has an unfriendly temperament may be more likely to lead to liability.
Also, some dogs have a history of aggressive behavior and it is quite important to have adequate coverage in these cases. Also, most insurance companies may not offer coverage if you own a dog which is on their “dangerous” breed list. Although the dangerous breed list can vary depending on the insurance company, the types of dogs which are typically found on this list include:
- Pit Bulls;
- Presa Canarios; and
- Bull Terriers.
Also, even if the type of dog that you have is not on the dangerous list, many insurance companies may be reluctant to cover your dog if it has a history of aggression. If your dog has an incident with aggression, they may be placed in quarantine by your local Animal Control. To get your dog home, there are certain conditions that you need to meet. Some common conditions are for the pet owner to provide a Certificate of Insurance which shows:
- $100,000 of liability coverage;
- The wording “Dangerous Dog”; and
- Animal Control listed as an additional insured in your coverage.
What are Some Guidelines for Choosing the Right Type of Insurance?
Some companies offer canine liability coverage. Because many types of homeowners or renters insurance may not provide adequate protection for pet related liability, you may considering getting canine liability coverage.
Also, if your homeowners or renters policy does not cover accidents caused by dogs, you could also get an umbrella policy because such policies fill in the gaps. However, when considering umbrella policies, it is important to confirm that they provide coverage for an accident caused by your dog because some of these policies do not.
On top of that, if your homeowners or renters insurance does cover accidents caused by dogs but the liability coverage is not that adequate, you can get an umbrella policy or at least an excess policy. However, if your umbrella policy does not provide enough coverage, you can supplement it with an excess policy.
What about Dog-liability Insurance for Renters?
Renters can obtain renters insurance for their personal property. Renters insurance may cover pet-related liability but in some cases, they may not. It is important to check with your insurance agent for more information about your policy.
Another factor to consider is your landlord and the insurance which they maintain on the property. Landlords may often be reluctant to rent to individuals based on the size or breed of a particular pet.
If you run into this issue, you can ask whether you can provide a letter from a veterinarian or a written assessment from a particular trainer which states that your pet is friendly.
What is the Federation of Insured Dog Owners?
The Federation of Insured Dog Owners (F.I.D.O.) is an organization which was launched to offer Covered Canine Liability Insurance Policies for any breed of dog. It seeks to provide valuable liability coverage for pet owners at an affordable price.
Their policies start as low as $75 per year, per dog plus an annual membership fee to the organization. The policies offered by the organization are available throughout the country and the organization also covers any breed of dog.
Should I Consult a Lawyer for Issues with My Dog’s Insurance Liability?
Any dog can bite, cause injury or cause property damage and the pet owner may be held liable. Thus, it is important for pet owners to have adequate coverage.
If you are an individual who was injured by someone else’s pet and you are not covered, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover proper compensation for any injuries which you incurred.