Home » How Home Insurance Addresses Dog Breed Liabilities
April 12, 2021

How Home Insurance Addresses Dog Breed Liabilities

family sitting outside with dogWhen you get a pet, you might not realize that this new member of your family might have an impact on your homeowners insurance. That’s why you need to let your agent know as soon as you bring your furry housemate home; your policy will need to account for the presence of this animal. 

The presence of a pet—large or “aggressive” breeds of dogs in particular—represents a liability, which to your home insurer is a cost risk. Therefore, if your insurer doesn’t know that you have a dog, they might not offer you coverage for any harm that your pet might do. Here’s why. 

How Home Insurance Addresses Dog Breeds 
Your dog might be your best friend, but it’s still an animal and it can be very unpredictable. It often doesn’t take much prodding for your dog’s wild instincts to come out and when they do, the results might not be pretty. 

When your pet gets wild, they might bite someone, or perhaps do damage to someone else’s property. This is where they demonstrate the risk they pose to you by having them. 

Suppose, for example, that a friend comes to visit you and while playing with your dog, they get bitten in a wrong place/wrong time injury. Under the circumstances, your friend might face significant medical bills, lost income and other recovery costs. They might request that you compensate them—since it was your dog that caused the injury—and some might even sue you. 

At this point, your home insurance’s liability coverage will provide coverage for your friend’s losses on the condition that you have a pet bite liability benefit within the plan. However, even with this coverage included, certain dog breeds might still be excluded from the policy.  

Some dog breeds have statistically higher risks of harming others, and as a result some insurers consider them “aggressive” breeds that they cannot realistically cover. Even if your dog is well-trained and docile most of the time, your policy will not recognize this distinction. 

Minimizing Dog Bite Risks in Your Home 
Regardless of whether you home insurance plan covers your breed, there’s still a lot you can do to keep your risk of a pet bite occurring: 

  • Be sure your dog is social with other dogs and humans beyond your family. 

  • Be sure the dog has a rabies vaccination. 

  • When you are out in public, put the dog on a leash. Never have the dog out of your reach. 

  • Teach dogs to obey your commands through proper training. 

  • Never leave your dog unattended with strangers or children of any age.


Taking these steps protects both anyone who interacts with your dog, and protects your pet itself. In the end, you’ll create a more secure environment for everyone and can reduce liabilities that might at times strain your home insurance. 

Tags: home insurance

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