How Much is That Doggie in the Window

Adding a pet to your home is a moment of joy.  Making the right choice for your family can be hard at times.  Choosing between a goldfish and a hamster may be one of the most heated conversations you will have around the dinner table.  Once the decision is made and you go to find the perfect pet for your family, there is nothing like the connection you make when you look into the eyes of your new fur-baby. Truly love at first sight and nothing and no one can talk you out of bringing your new "love of your life" home with you.

Owning a pet extends far past pee-pee pads and long walks, however.  Pet owner's responsibilities include obtaining the proper homeowners policy to financially protect your family in the event your new doggy causes injury to someone while on your property.

Although most homeowners insurance policies include a wide range of liability coverage, injuries caused by a pet may be excluded.  It is important to read your policy and consult with your agent to ensure proper coverage.

Our Chief Legal Officer, Stacey A. Giulianti, Esq. confirms "Virtually all homeowners insurance companies have a dangerous breed list, which will result in a rejection of the home for coverage by the underwriter," he says. "It is critical to obtain the company's list and ensure that your dog is not among the banned breeds; even an animal that is 'half' of an excluded breed will be subject to the underwriting rule."  Exotic animals such as pigs, goats, etc., may be excluded as well.  Read more here.  

Note:  Animals used for farming or for business purposes are subject to different underwriting rules and are not addressed here.

Things to consider:

  • When obtaining insurance, speak with your agent and let them know of any pets you may have at home
  • Obtain and review a list of the excluded breeds; most homeowners carriers will have a list of breeds of dogs which they will not cover
  • Inquire about Animal Liability.  Although the liability coverage on your policy may exclude injuries sustained or caused by a pet, purchasing animal liability will provide this needed protection.  Edison Insurance Company offers this coverage for acceptable breeds for just $25 per year

While owning a pet can change your life forever, so can an unsuspected injury caused by your furry friend.  Ask your agent how to protect yourself, your family, and your pet.

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