Dangerous Dog Breeds and Homeowners Insurance

Your dog is your best friend until he bites someone. Not only could you lose your dog but depending upon the injury caused, you could be sued. Owning a pet should be a simple, enjoyable part of living. In today’s litigious society, pet ownership also comes with risks.  Anyone who has a dog or who is considering getting a dog should know the facts about insurance liability coverage. 

Dog breeds are rated not by the number of bites they inflict annually, but by the severity of them. While a nip from a Cocker Spaniel or a Chihuahua may cause pain, it rarely kills the victim. However an attack from an Akita, Alaskan malamute, Chow chow, Doberman, Pitbull, Rottweiler, and Staffordshire terrier may kill or maim.  Everyone knows someone – perhaps you yourself – who has one of these breeds that is loveable and harmless. However, statistics tell us that they are the breeds most often cited in severe bites. Insurance is a business that is run by statistics. 

Other dogs may be included in the rating of dangerous dog as well. Those who have a past history of already having severely bitten someone; of killing another animal; or one that has been used in the commission of a crime may receive the “do not insure” label as well. 

If you have a dog on this list, you may have to pay more for your premium or possibly have dog bites excluded from coverage. It’s always best to check with your agent to find out your liability and the steps you can take to obtain adequate coverage. 

If you’re still in the looking for a dog stage, consider getting one that doesn’t have the dangerous breed label. Mixed breeds generally do not fall into that category unless the mix if of two breeds on the list. If you insist on getting or already have one of these labeled dog breeds, you must be extra vigilant to make sure it causes no harm. 

This includes: 

Secure fencing. Never leave your dog alone with anyone. 

Keep your dog away from children and other pets. 

Muzzle your dog if necessary when in the public. Do not take your dog off leash. 

Get involved in local legislation concerning your breed of dog. 

Homeowners are not the only ones who need to have liability insurance that covers their dogs. Renters do as well, and in some states, dog owners must present proof of insurance when buying a license. Otherwise the dog may be seized. 

While you may believe your dog would never ever bite someone, the truth is that almost every dog is capable of biting in the right circumstances. Protect yourself and your dog by knowing the facts, by making the right choices when selecting a pet, and by making sure your insurance policy covers your dog’s actions.