Many different pets have liability concerns that must be calculated into the homeowners policy. From property damage to bodily injury, your pet is going to be a factor in what your premiums will be. For some animals, such as dog breeds that are considered dangerous, you may have to shop around just to find an insurance company that will underwrite your policy.
Dangerous Dog Breeds
Pitbulls, Shepherds and Rottweilers are three of the most common breeds listed as dangerous. For these breeds, some insurance companies will not write a home policy at all, while other may exclude the dog from coverage. Some states use a different method, called the “one bite rule,” where the dog is allowed ‘one free bit’ before the insurance company will cancel the policy. You will have to check with the laws of your state to find out what the specific laws may be, and shop for an insurance company that welcomes your pet as part of your family.
Most homeowners policies will not cover personal property that is damaged by a pet, but others do. And even if your personal property is covered, the wording of your policy may limit the dollar amount of your personal property that will be covered for pet related damages. Every insurance company will have different rules for this, so keep your pets in mind and read the policy carefully before you sign the contract. For example, if your cat destroys a window blind, you would be responsible for replacing the blinds out of your own pocket.
Property Damage Concerns
Property damage, such as your cat clawing up a neighbor’s screen trying to visit their bird cage, or even the cost of the bird if the cat succeeds, will be covered to varying degrees. Some policies will treat the cat or other pet like a family member and treat property damages in the same way, while others treat damages caused by animals differently or even exclude them altogether.
Bodily Injury Liability
Unless the pet is excluded from coverage, your insurance will pay for bodily injury to visitors. This does not include injuries to your own immediate family members, but it would include a visiting family member who was bitten or scratched. This is one of the most important reasons to have a home insurance policy that includes your animals, because in addition to bodily injury, many pet-induced injuries are also viewed as liability suits, and having a good policy will prevent the possibility of lawsuits taking your home or draining your savings.
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