Buying Dog Liability Insurance to Protect You and Others

Whether you own a passive Bassett Hound or a high strung Terrier, all dog owners should consider purchasing dog liability insurance. The average dog attack claim can typically hit the $100,000 mark, making pet liability insurance a priority for many dog owners.

Even friendly dogs can cause harm such as the happy Golden Retriever who runs over to greet someone, knocks them to the ground, causing a bone break. Whether its from an attack or an accident, dog liability insurance can save owners money and heartache.

Dogs That Should Have Liability Coverage

Although any animal has the ability to attack or injure, some breeds tend to be more aggressive than others. Owners of large breeds with a history of high risk behavior should always have coverage. These breeds include:

  • Dobermans
  • Pit Bulls
  • Chow Chows
  • German Shepherds
  • Akitas
  • Great Danes

Although the short list includes several well-known aggressive breeds, all pet owners should examine their dog’s behavior and seek liability coverage if needed. Even some of the tiniest breeds, such as the Chihuahua have been known to bite without being provoked. 

What Dog Liability Insurance Covers

Five million dog bites were reported in the U.S. last year alone, making dog liability insurance a priority to many pet owners. Left uncovered, dog owners can be held liable for thousands of dollars in medical bills and other damages including extermination of their animal.

Dog or pet liability insurance covers injury cost to the other party, generally if the bite or attack occurred on the owner’s property. Owners can select an amount of policy coverage, but some dog owners recommend up to one million dollars.

If You Have Trouble Obtaining Coverage

Pet liability insurance may not cover you if your dog is a known repeat offender or is an aggressive breed (such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and German Shepherds). If you have trouble obtaining coverage, there are a few steps you can take to improve your chances being covered:

  • Complete a certified obedience training course—mail certificate to the insurance company
  • Neutering males will reduce aggressive behavior
  • Fence your dog’s area completely
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times when outdoors

Finding the Best Coverage

Typically dog owners can obtain a liability policy through their homeowners or a private insurance company. In the past, dog bites were always included within the policy, however today bites may not be part of the policy. Examine your policy carefully to determine which areas are covered.

Also, check your policy to determine which expenses are covered while the victim is being treated. Some policies pay for hospitalization whereas others only pay a portion of the costs—leaving you with out of pocket expenses.

Remember, dog liability insurance never covers damages you intentionally cause another person. Telling your dog to “attack” someone is never covered.

Overall, implementing strong obedience training and being a vigilant dog owner will help you reduce the possibility of the unfortunate incident of a dog attack. However, in the event your dog should injury another person, dog liability insurance will help with any expenses.

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