Dog Liability Insurance
Being a pet owner comes with many responsibilities, including providing food, water, and shelter for your pet. However, many pet owners fail to realize that in addition to providing safety for their pet, they must also ensure that their pets do not harm other people and/or their property. Unfortunately, this happens often, especially to dog owners, as dogs are far more likely to damage property or attack people then other domesticated animals like cats and ferrets. In fact, in terms of pet liability lawsuits, dog bites are the number one claim made, with about 1 million bites reported in the United States annually. Dog liability insurance provides protection against the financial turmoil that is usually associated with pet related lawsuits and their judgments. In some cases, the judge will determine that the dog should be put to sleep if they've seriously injured someone, and while dog liability insurance cannot entirely prevent the emotional stress of this judgment, it can eliminate or mitigate the court costs and financial repercussions.
Reasons to Purchase Dog Liability Insurance
Studies have shown that about one third of all homeowners insurance claims are related to dog bites. Dog liability insurance policies protect you from the financial difficulties of having to pay for property repairs within your own home or for your neighbors property after it is damaged by your dog. Aside from dog bites, dogs can do damage to a neighbor's lawn, their fencing, or one of their children's toys, and this can result in lawsuits, and subsequent losses ranging from thousands to millions of dollars for the dog owner. When an individual sues a dog owner for being bitten they not only recover the cost of medical bills, which can be thousands of dollars in and of themselves, they also sue for emotional and unemployment related damages, so the judgments against you could be quite serious for even a minor incident.
Who Should Have Dog Liability Insurance?
While smaller dogs are capable of damaging property and biting people, the damage that they cause is usually insignificant in comparison to that caused by a larger dog. In fact, the insurance industry has a list of dog breeds that they have labeled as "high risk", which includes Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinchers, Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherds, Akitas, and Wolf hybrids. Although some homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for damages caused by household pets, the aforementioned types of dog breeds are typically excluded from these policies. If you own the breeds mentioned above, or you feel that your dog is prone to damaging property or may bite someone, then it would be extremely advisable to apply for a dog liability insurance policy as soon as possible.
How Much Dog Liability Insurance Cost?
A typical liability insurance policy costs about $100-$300 annually, however depending on the type of dog you have, their history, and how much coverage is needed, plans made range as high as $500 per year. The best way to find an affordable yet suitable dog liability insurance policy is to speak with an insurance broker that specializes in pet insurance. Ultimately, the amount of money that could be saved in court costs, lawyer fees, and judgments greatly outweighs the nominal annual cost of dog liability insurance. In other words, dog liability insurance can easily pay for itself many times over if even a single incident causes you to face a lawsuit related to your dog. For the cost of about $25 per month you can be sure that you are not financially liable for any damage done by your dog as long as it was not caused by negligence or purposeful wrongdoing on your behalf.