Is my dog covered on house insurance? What to Know

When and how does homeowners insurance cover pets?

You’re only covered for liability-related claims under your homeowners insurance when it comes to your pets. There are two main areas where pets may cause liability issues that result in lawsuits against you. We’ll break down each for a better understanding.

  • Bodily injury liability: If your cat, dog, or other pet injures a guest on your property, or your bring your pet with you to someone else’s house and your pet injures a guest or tenant there, your homeowners policy provides coverage for the damages. Your insurance will reimburse you for fees relating to medical payments if the injury is bad enough to require a hospital visit, and also legal fees if you are sued. Legal fees will cover your attorney, court fees, and any settlements you’re ordered to pay if the case rules against you.
  • Property damage liability: If your dog or horse escapes and ends up trampling or destroying someone else’s property, your homeowners policy will cover you. Your insurance will cover the fees to repair the property damage itself, in addition to any legal fees from a potential lawsuit.
  • Veterinarian visits: Any routine or emergency vet visits are not covered under homeowners insurance policies. You as the pet owner are responsible for covering their vet bills.
  • Property damage: Whether your dog chews up your brand-new iPhone or your cat knocks an antique lamp off the mantle, your homeowners insurance will not cover you. According to insurance companies, you are responsible for monitoring your pet’s behavior and keeping them from damaging your house and/or other personal property.
  • Though pets are technically considered to be personal property, it’s nearly impossible for an insurance company to accurately assign them a monetary value. That’s why coverage for pets is so limited under homeowners insurance. However, liability claims are typically the most expensive issues that can arise from pets anyway, so it’s good to know that homeowners insurance does provide you with pet-related liability protection.

    What dog breeds are not covered by homeowners insurance?

    Certain dog breeds are responsible for an overwhelmingly high number of dog bite claims. As a way to minimize what they view as a high-risk and expensive liability issue, some insurers exclude coverage for certain dog breeds or refuse to cover your home altogether.

    Many insurers have restrictions against the following breeds:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan malamute
  • Any wolf breeds
  • Chow chow
  • Doberman pinscher
  • German shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Pit bull terrier
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian husky
  • Staffordshire terrier
  • In certain states, dog breed discrimination may be banned

    Dog groups have been lobbying state legislators to ban insurers from refusing coverage due to dog breed. So far, three states have implemented legislation to limit breed discrimination:

    How Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dogs?

    As mentioned above, homeowners insurance covers dogs and pets in relatively the same way. If your dog damages your personal property, that is unlikely to be covered by your homeowners insurance.

    However, if your dog damages a person or their property in your home, that’s typically when your coverage will kick in to help with medical and legal fees.

    Pets can affect homeowners insurance