New Puppy? How Owning a Dog Can Affect Your Homeowner's Insurance

When you consider that almost half of all American households have a dog, it becomes understandable why homeowners insurance policies are so concerned about how your dog behaves. Insurance companies have had to pay nearly $500 million in dog bite liability claims in 2013 alone. Since insurance companies are always looking to reduce their liability, the cost of owning a dog could up your insurance rates. Each year an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten and nearly 900,000 require medical attention.

The Cost of Owning a Restricted Breed

If you own a restricted breed of dog, you're going to be paying more for your homeowner's insurance policy. They may even deny giving you coverage at all. Breeds that are considered more aggressive and that have resulted in the largest number of attacks may require you to spend some time searching for the right insurance provider. Rottweilers, Dobermans and Pit Bulls are at the top of the list for the most dangerous dogs.

Finding Insurance With a Dog

In most cases, if you own a golden retriever or another animal that is considered safe, you're not going to have too much trouble finding an insurance company to help you out. However, you may still end up paying more for your friend if you want to maintain your homeowner’s policy. In some cases, you may not even be able to rent an apartment if you have an animal. This is because many landlords have insurance companies that won't cover animal attacks.

The Insurance Company Needs to Know

If you're considering lying about your pet and leaving it off your disclosure, this is not a good route to take. Your insurance company needs to know about your dog. If you fail to inform them, you could be on the hook for your pet and may lose coverage. In some cases, the insurance company can even retaliate against you for breaching your contract.

Know How Your Pet Affects Your Insurance

Just because you have a dog and a policy, it doesn't mean you are going to be covered if there is an incident. Many insurance companies may charge you extra money in premiums, but still fail to cover you in the event of an incident. Be honest with your carrier, and ask about what sorts of events are covered under your policy. Insurance is meant to minimize risks when certain things occur. The right amount of insurance for your needs may change over time. An Austin home loans expert says it's important to review your home insurance coverage to see if there are changes you might want to consider. If in doubt, consult a professional to assess your insurance needs before making any major changes.

We often consider pets as family members, but your dog could end up costing you a significant amount of money. The best advice is to talk to your insurance carrier honestly, and stay informed about the specifics of your policy.

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