Clear of the Doghouse

Doghouse - Insurance

Keeping People Out of your Doghouse

According to the Insurance Information Institute, one third of all homeowners liability claims involve dog bites and other dog related injuries. In 2014, U.S. dog related claims totaled $530 million. All homeowners insurance companies are very cautious when underwriting policies for homes with dogs. Regardless of the facts and obvious risk involved, there are steps that homeowners can take to reduce the risk of a claim involving their dog.

Don’t Take Liability Coverage For Granted

Insurance companies have great variation in their appetite for the risk of animal liability; it is most common to see policies with an option of $100,000, $300,000 or $500,000 per occurrence. Policies don’t necessarily carry the same Family Liability limits over to Animal Liability so it is important to review the policy and understand exactly the amount that applies to animal liability as well as any exclusions which may include certain breeds or aggressive dogs.

On the other hand, there are insurance companies who exclude animal liability and offer it as an option to add to the policy for a small additional premium.

Full Disclosure

It is imperative to fully disclose the breed of pet dogs and any prior claims which could end up to disqualify coverage in the event of a claim. It is commonplace for insurance carriers to investigate when being presented with a claim. The failure to disclose information on an insurance application could be grounds for the denial of a claim and cancellation of a policy.

Obedience Training

Even if your insurance carrier doesn’t require obedience training for dogs, it would be a great measure of preventive care. An obedient dog is less likely to show aggression and bite someone. An obedient dog would be a great pleasure to have around the family and friends.

Don’t Allow Dog to Interact with Others Unsupervised

Dogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely around strangers, the owner knows the dog’s temperament best so if the dog were getting aggravated for any reason, the owner could dampen the tension and avoid a dog bite. Many times, dogs are left alone at home or in the garden, it is important that gates are doors are secured so the dog can’t get out and harm someone.

Maintain a File

Apart from all the above, it is essential to maintain legal licenses, current vaccinations and keeping a file with proof and certifications of all requirements. Dog ownership isn’t for everyone but when responsibly handled, it can be a very rewarding and loving experience for homeowners. 64% of U.S. homes own a cat or a dog; amazingly, only 2% of pets in the U.S. have Pet Insurance.