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How Does Home Insurance Cover Pets?

Posted by Allison Ruuska on 4/7/2008 at 1:00 PM

Pets are often considered part of the family, providing companionship, entertainment and laughter most of the time. But, perhaps there was a less than proud moment when your furry little buddy dug up your neighbor's prize garden or bit the mailman. Though you may want to bury that moment forever, there is some good news if you had home insurance at the time: Most likely, the damage done was covered by your policy.

 

Typically, the liability portion of your home insurance coverage covers the actions of your pets if they damage items that you don't own or if they injure people who do not live in your house. If your pet slips up, you'll likely have liability coverage.

However, did you know that certain types of pets can make it difficult to obtain home, renters or condo insurance through certain companies? Here's why.

Are Certain Pets Uninsurable?

Generally, you can purchase home insurance with most types of domestic pets. However, some home insurance companies will list certain types of dog breeds that they consider uninsurable, with the biggest factor being the history of the breed. While this is a debatable topic, as temperaments vary greatly among individual pets, insurance companies look at the risk factors associated with insuring people who have these breeds as pets.

One of the most common risk factors is a dog bite. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2005, about 15 percent of liability claims dollars paid under home insurance policies were attributed to dog bite claims. That amounts to roughly $317.2 million paid for dog bites alone. Insurance companies often use statistics like these in relation to home insurance claims to determine if they're willing to insure this type of risk. So, if a particular dog breed has a documented history of attacks or bites, an insurance company may consider this risk to be too high, thus causing the company to deem the breed uninsurable.

Common dog breeds that are often considered uninsurable include:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Wolf hybrids

Exotic animals, such as snakes, tigers, etc., also may fall in the uninsurable category. It's best to check with your specific insurance provider — preferably before you get a pet — to see if limitations exist around owning these types of pets.

How to Find Out if Your Pet Will Affect Your Home Insurance

When you apply for home insurance, a company often asks if you have pets to determine whether you can purchase home insurance from them or not. If you add a pet to your family after your policy is active, you should take the following steps to determine whether coverage is affected by your pet:

  1. Read your home insurance policy contract to see if it denotes pets that are not covered.
  2. Call your insurance company if you're unsure or if you have questions about your policy terms.

It's best to disclose information about any pets you have to ensure your policy will properly cover you in possible situations involving your pet.

When you get a quote through Progressive Home Advantage®, provided and serviced by select homeowners insurance companies, your representative can help you determine what type of insurance is available to you if you have pets.

The information in this blog may vary based on your particular state or situation. Always refer to your insurance policy for your specific coverages.

*Progressive Home Advantage® policies are placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with select insurers that it represents. These insurers are not affiliated with Progressive, are solely responsible for claims and pay PSIA commission for policies sold. Prices, coverages, privacy policies and PSIA's commission vary among these insurers. A quote from one of the insurers can be provided through this site. Click here for a quote from other insurers or more information about PSIA's commission.

Tagged with: Home Insurance

Comments

I live in an apartment and i want to see if "renters insurance" would cover my dog incase something unfortunate happens, such as jumping up scratching a paint job on a car or him biting someone? My dog is a lab mix "mut". Thank you Brian
Posted on 5/28/2011 at 11:56 PM by Brian Cote
driving home at night from work a dog jumped in front of my 3 week old car and i hit it unfortunately. the dog ran away, but he must have been injured as my headlight broke and i now have a leak fom the underside of my car. i stayed until the police came. the officer knew of the dog in question. would the dog owners' home insurance cover the costs of repairing my car? thank you
Posted on 10/9/2011 at 9:01 PM by tony
@Tony - Typically, hitting an animal is covered under the auto policies Comprehensive coverage. Under circumstances like yours, it would be best to file a claim with your insurer and have them help you determine if the dog owner’s home coverage would apply.
Posted on 10/24/2011 at 10:27 AM by Progressive
I have been in my house for 10 years and when I bought it I didn't have pets, I got 2 now for 4 years, I never knew that I have to include them in my homeowners insurance, do I have to call them to notify them?
Posted on 2/17/2012 at 12:11 PM by Carol
@Carol: Please contact your insurer to determine whether or not your pets will affect your homeowners' policy.
Posted on 2/22/2012 at 10:33 AM by Progressive
A neighbor riding his motor cycle, doing 55mph in a 20mph zone, wrecked avoiding my dog who ran in the road. The neighbor was cited with wreckless driving and fought it in court and lost. He now wants to file a claim with my homeowners ins. or file a law suit. What is my liability if any?
Posted on 5/22/2012 at 11:03 AM by coleen
@Coleen: The best thing to do is contact your home insurer immediately, so their legal team can review your information and provide guidance.
Posted on 5/24/2012 at 9:25 AM by Progressive
Are the breeds cited above automatically excluded or does an agent visit the home and dog and take temperment and training into account?
Posted on 7/9/2012 at 10:27 AM by Heather
My husband and I have been in our home for a little over six months. When we moved in and got our policy we had only two cats. We're now in the process of adopting a one year old dog. I'm wondering if this is going to affect my policy coverage and if Progressive has breed restrictions.
Posted on 9/8/2012 at 10:30 PM by Kolbi
@Kolbi: Each insurance company has its own list of restricted breeds. Generally the list is short. To find out if your dog is on the list, contact your underwriter directly, or call us at 1-888-671-1132.
Posted on 9/11/2012 at 11:11 AM by Progressive
I hit a dog that ran out in front of my car. The owner says he is going to sue me for the $1100 vet bill. The state trooper's accident report shows that my 4 foot long skid mark along the driver's side of vehicle had dog hair embedded in it. We do not have a leash law in our rural area. We are in Virginia, which does have the law called Contributory Negligence. Will I have to pay the vet bill?
Posted on 9/14/2012 at 9:33 AM by Betty
I have moved into an apartment and they are requiring me to have pet insurance to cover what my cat may damage, can I get a affordable quote on this?
Posted on 12/4/2012 at 11:16 AM by Melissa Rowell
@Melissa: Sure! You can get an online pet insurance quote through our site: www.progressive.com/pet-insurance/pet.aspx.
Posted on 12/17/2012 at 2:12 PM by Progressive
Are there any breeds that progressive won't cover?
Posted on 2/9/2013 at 8:39 PM by September
@September: Each Progressive Home Advantage® insurer has its own list of restricted breeds. Generally the list is short. To find out if your dog is on the list, contact your underwriter directly, or call us at 1-888-671-1132.
Posted on 2/13/2013 at 9:11 AM by Progressive
I am letting everyone I know about your prejudice rules on breeds. This is irresponsible and you have not done any research on these animals. Your company is horrible for this and I will spread the word. Breed specific laws are ridiculous and the facts behind them are false . You base this information on media hype and do not look at the real information.
Posted on 4/4/2013 at 6:45 PM by Chris

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