We took our two dogs on their first vacation with us to Frankfort, Michigan this past summer – “Gerald” (our 5 year old Yorkie) and “Aggie” (our 10 month old Picardy Spaniel). With our five kids alone, our family is a walking tidal wave. Add in two dogs in our packed-out SUV, and you’ve got Dad the insurance agent thinking through all the scenarios.
What if a larger dog attacks our dog?
What if Aggie trips up the little old lady at Kilwin’s?
What if Gerald jumps out of the car, runs across the highway, and causes an accident?
I suppose that’s the result of being in the insurance business for 17+ years. I’ve seen stranger things.
69,000,000 households in the United States have a dog. If you walk your neighborhood regularly you know which houses have dogs and maybe even their owners.
There are cute dogs. Annoying dogs. Scary dogs. Cuddly friendly dogs. Fenced in dogs. Super loud barking dogs. Habitually lost roaming dogs.
Every neighborhood has them all and all kinds of dog owners too.
Owners that regularly walk their dogs. Owners that use their dogs to socialize. Owners that let their dogs bark all hours of the night. Owners that have clear command of their dogs. Owners that do not.
If you have a dog you should understand how your home insurance policy protects you in the event of an incident created by your dog. Let’s explore a few scenarios:
- The breed of your dog
- Some insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for certain breeds of dogs categorized as dangerous. You may have the sweetest-cutest-would-never-hurt-a-fly dog but if he is a dangerous breed your coverage may be outright excluded. It may be an accident. It may be a one time situation. It may have been a fluke. It may have been the other person’s fault. It may not even be your dog’s fault. Coverage may be excluded. If you have a dog that could be considered a dangerous breed, you should talk with your insurance agent to confirm you have coverage.
- Dogs with a prior bite history
- Some insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for dogs with prior aggressive behavior. You may have done a ton of work to rehabilitate your dog. You may have gone through classes and training. The truth is your coverage may be outright excluded if your dog has an aggressive behavioral history. If you have a dog with a prior bite history, you should talk with your insurance agent to confirm you have coverage.
- Other considerations
- It doesn’t have to be a dog bite or even at your home. What if your dog accidentally knocks over someone and injuries them? Are you certain you are covered on your home insurance policy if your dog injures someone?
- It doesn’t have to be bodily injury. What if your dog has a metal pole in it’s mouth, runs down the street, and damages a couple of vehicles as he runs down sidewalk?
Dog related issues cost homeowners insurance companies $882,000,000 in claims in 2021 for an average claim cost of $49,025. Dogs, like their owners, make mistakes. Sadly, there are people that own homes that do not have coverage for their dogs in certain situations.
Simply put, if you have a dog you need to know if you are covered by your homeowners insurance. Talk with your trusted insurance advisor to make sure you are financially protected.
For more insurance advice contact us at 260-424-1555.
Jeremy Hyde | Colligan & Company