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They are cute, some are furry and they’re all loyal. Pets are great to have around for company. A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association showed that there are over 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. The figure representing pet cats is even higher. The same survey showed that over 4.5 million people suffer dog bites annually.
More than half of this figure represents children, and over 800,000 of these injuries are serious enough to need medical attention. Clearly, owning a pet isn’t all a bed of roses. If you don’t have insurance, the cost of any damage caused by your pet will come right out of your pocket.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Pet Damages?
Imagine that you’re having a great afternoon at home and the doorbell rings. Your dog just bit your neighbors’ little 5-year-old girl and she has been rushed to the hospital. Your neighbor wants to know how you’re going to handle this.
Injuries caused by pets can result in thousands of dollars in medical bills. If the other party decides to sue you, you could end up paying hundreds of thousands or even millions depending on the severity of the injuries. These fees aren’t easy to pay out of pocket. It helps to have something to fall back on.
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that their homeowner’s insurance covers pet damages. Liability coverage in your homeowner’s insurance policy is designed to cover you in case of damage or injuries to other parties that you can be held liable for.
However, it is important to be cautious here. This coverage is limited. Some homeowner’s policies don’t even include this type of coverage. It is therefore, important to check on this when seeking homeowners insurance quotes.
Even if your insurance provider offers coverage for pet damages, it is important to check the fine print. There are various factors that are considered by the insurance company when deciding whether they will provide compensation or not. Keep the following in mind:
If your pet is considered exotic, you may not be covered for damage by the pet. These pets may include pets that would not normally be sold out of a pet retail store. These may include tigers, monkeys or other wild animals.
Damage to Your Own Dwellings or Property
Insurance companies typically do not provide cover for dwellings or their contents when the primary cause of loss is a pet owned by the policy holder. If your pet destroys your expensive sofa, door or area rug, your insurance provider isn’t likely to compensate you. However, the insurance provider will offer coverage if your dog chews on your neighbor’s carpet.
Dog’s With History of Aggressive Behavior
Dog bites are quite common. They can also be very expensive. According to State Farm and The Insurance Information Institute, home insurance claims related to dog bites made up 4.7 percent of homeowners’ insurance costs in 2014. These claims resulted in insurance providers paying over $530 million, with the average claim being slightly over $32,000.
It’s therefore, understandable that insurance providers will be wary of insuring dogs they consider dangerous. These include dogs that are poorly trained or fall in the category of dangerous breeds, such as Rottweilers, Pit Bull Terriers, and German Shepherds.
Getting Coverage for Your Pet
So does homeowners insurance cover pet damages? The answer is maybe, but not always. Whether you’re planning to buy a homeowners insurance policy online or in person, prepare a list of questions to ask beforehand so you can cover every necessary angle. Your pocket and peace of mind will thank you later on.
Have you ever been bitten by a dog?
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.