Home insurance for dog owners: What you need to know

By Allstate

Last updated: January 1

There are many questions to ask before adding a new pet to the family. Does it shed? Will it play well with children? Are its vaccinations up to date? One more question to ask: Will it affect your homeowners coverage? Here’s how adding a new dog to your household may affect your homeowners insurance policy.

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Why your insurance company has concerns about your pet

Even the best-trained animals can be unpredictable, and your insurance carrier looks at every risk when creating your homeowners policy. If there's a chance your pet could pose a threat to anyone you may have an increased rate, need more liability coverage or be denied insurance altogether.

Which dog breeds are high-risk for insurance companies?

Dogs are one of the most common pets, and they can also be the riskiest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year.

Many homeowners insurance policies cover dog bites and other incidents. Your policy's liability insurance is intended to protect you financially by covering medical expenses if someone is injured on your property.

The breed of dog is a key factor when it comes to determining your homeowners insurance premium. Many insurers won't cover muscular canines that can inflict severe harm from a single bite, like Doberman pinschers or even chowchows. When it comes to predicting which dogs are most likely to be aggressive, many preconceptions aren't necessarily true.

A liability claim can come from any breed. Your insurer could have statistics that may inform its decisions about your home insurance.

Tips to help prevent dog bites

One way to offset the added insurance cost of a dog is by staying claim-free and showing your insurer there's no reason to worry. Here are some steps to help avoid dog bites:

  • Socialize your dog early by introducing it to other humans and dogs.
  • Keep your dog on-leash when it's in the yard.
  • Get your dog vaccinated for rabies.
  • Train your dog to "drop" toys so no one has to reach in its mouth.
  • Limit tug-of-war games and don't let them get too heated.
  • Be ready to remove your dog from tense situations or places where it may get nervous.
  • Never leave children alone with a dog.
  • Have visitors respect the dog's space, especially when it's sleeping, eating and drinking.

Review your home insurance coverage

The only way to know for sure how your pet will affect coverage is to talk with your insurer. Be honest with your insurance provider when discussing your pet. The goal is to help ensure you're financially protected should something happen. Make sure your insurer has all the information they need to be able to offer you the protection you need.