Do I Need Dog Bite Liability Insurance?

Dog is man’s best friend, so is a dog liability clause in your homeowners’ policy really necessary? You may think that your dog would never cause harm to another individual, but dog bites are the cause of over a third of all claims made (and paid out for) under a homeowners’ insurance policy.

Although having dog liability or dog bite coverage on your homeowners’ policy may be an important way to protect you, not all homeowners’ insurance policy carriers provide coverage – so be sure to ask your independent insurance agent at Magruder Insurance to make sure to find you a carrier that does offer coverage.

Homeowner’s insurance policies aren’t the only policies that can have a dog liability coverage clause, condo insurance and renters’ insurance can as well – and in some cases may be required by a landlord. Some carriers may require you to have dog liability coverage if you own a dog in order to get a homeowners’ insurance policy.

What is Covered Under Dog Liability?

Dog liability covers the medical expenses for injuries caused by your dog and any costs associated with additional damages. If the medical expenses or damages exceed your dog liability coverage, you could be held responsible for the difference. Having umbrella insurance can help protect against a gap in coverage limits.

Even the kindest and tamest of our four-legged friends have the potential to bite someone if they feel that they (or their family) are being threatened or if they are hurt or scared. Dog liability also covers instances where injuries are not caused by dog bites. It also covers other injuries that may be caused by your dog. For example, if your dog is overly excited by new guests in the home, they may jump on the guest, knocking them down and causing your guest to break their arm.

What is NOT Covered Under Dog Liability?

Select dog breeds may not be covered under dog liability coverage, including breeds that have been deemed “aggressive”. The most commonly “blacklisted” or banned dog breeds are pure-bred or dogs with mixed lineage of the following:

  • Chow Chows
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Cane Corse
  • Presa Canarios
  • Mastiffs
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Akitas
  • Wolf-hybrids
  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds

These are just some of the most common breeds that can be excluded across the industry. It is not an all-inclusive list and some carriers do not ban all of the breeds on this list or may ban other breeds not listed. Each carrier creates their own list of excluded breeds based on their opinion of the breed’s risk for causing a claim.  If you have a dog who is on this list, check with your independent insurance agent to make sure you are covered.

If your dog has a specific history of being aggressive or has had a previous claim filed against it, your carrier may deny you dog liability coverage.