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Liability Insurance FAQ
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Pet Liability Insurance

Pet liability insurance is a form of coverage that can be added to a homeowners policy or purchased individually. In the event that a pet destroys another person's property or causes physical harm to them, the insurance policy will offer compensation toward the damages. This form of coverage is available in every state. Dog owners should be especially concerned with buying this type of coverage, as dog-related damage claims comprise 1/3 of the pet liability claims filed each year.

Most homeowners policies provide a certain amount of compensation toward such damages. In most instances, there is a clause that provides coverage for either specific incidences or a specific amount. How the compensation is arranged depends on the individual insurance agency and the underwriting agency. If the compensation is based on a specific amount, any incidences included in the terms of the policy will be covered up to that dollar amount. If specific incidences are covered, there may or may not be a maximum amount, depending on the potential severity of the incident.

Pet Liability Insurance - Dog Types

Pet liability insurance clauses that are included in a homeowners policy usually don't cover certain breeds of dogs. Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas, Chows, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and dogs that have wolf breeds in their bloodlines are excluded from the provisions. However, there are independent insurance companies that sell only policies for these breeds that are commonly referred to as "dangerous."

Insurance claims often result from a pet biting another person or damaging their personal property. For example, a dog that bites a mailman would likely be the reason of a following lawsuit. If a dog escapes and tears up a neighbor's yard or a cat escapes and eats the fish out of the neighbor's koi pond, these are instances that may warrant a lawsuit for property damage and possibly mental anguish.

Pet Liability Insurance - Thinking Ahead

Not all pet liability claims are filed as a result of bites or property damage. Even if a large friendly dog jumps on a neighbor in a non-threatening way, as dogs commonly do when they're excited, and then knocks the person over, that person may file a lawsuit for any medical expenses.

Pet owners should always have ample coverage. Pet liability insurance is essential, especially since it is difficult to predict what a pet might inadvertently do to cause damage and harm. Most lawsuits are expensive. Even if the compensation amounts requested are petty, litigation costs are high. It is best to purchase an individual policy if homeowners coverage is insufficient.