Pets And Homeowners Insurance — Are Your Fur Babies Covered?
For many Americans, pets are part of the family. But, unlike your two-legged family members, pets can be excluded from homeowners insurance protection. How and why? Here's what every pet owner should know about homeowners insurance and fur babies.
Coverage for Damage to Others
The biggest concern for insurers when it comes to animals is the possibility that they will cause injury or damage to others or their property. Fortunately, the liability part of your home insurance generally includes standard coverage for damage caused by many dogs and cats.
If your pet is included in home insurance coverage, you are usually covered no matter where the incident occurs. If your dog bites someone at the dog park, you have the same coverage as you would in your backyard.
There are limits, however. Some breeds are considered a higher risk for biting or injury and damage. The insurer likely has a list of breeds it won't cover. While most of these breeds are canines, there are a few cat breeds that are often excluded.
Coverage for Damage to You
Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you financially from incidents over which you have little or no control. This means that you generally aren't covered for damage to your own property or belongings. If you want this kind of coverage, though, you may be able to purchase an additional policy or rider specifically for dog liability coverage.
How to Ensure Insurance for Pets
Want to ensure that you are covered for damages a pet may cause? Start by checking the pet-related exclusions of any policy you hold or plan to buy. Look for restrictions on breeds, species, sizes, and activities. If yours is excluded, shop around for a different policy.
As mentioned, you can also purchase separate dog liability insurance. This is an easy way to get coverage for certain breeds which are hard to find inclusions for on standard policies. In addition, talk with your agent about any exotic or unusual pets. These may or may not be covered in standard insurance policies.
Finally, ask about ways to beat exclusions. For instance, a DNA test might prove that your pet is not sufficiently of an excluded breed so that you can get coverage. Or the carrier may allow a pet who has attended training classes.
Where Should You Start?
The best place to begin is by meeting with a homeowners insurance provider in your state. They will work with you to find the right policy for your family — no matter who or what is part of it.