Many consider dogs as part of the family. It is a good thing too; because they can be pretty expensive to own. They may even impact your homeowners insurance premiums.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), pet ownership is on the rise in the United States. Dog ownership is the leader in this increase. Recent surveys indicate that about 38% of all households have dogs. That accounts for about 89 million of our furry friends.
Of course, this translates into money. American dog owners spend about $80 billion on various expenses like food, toys, bedding, cages, treats and veterinarians. One cost you might not realize, however, is the impact a dog might have on your home insurance.
How and Why Dogs Impact Home Insurance Premiums
Every year in the United States, there are 4.5 million injuries that result from dog bites. While many dog bites aren't necessarily serious, it is worth noting that in 2018, 27,000 injuries from dog bites required some form of reconstructive surgery.
In 2019, homeowners' insurance paid out $797 million in claims for dog injuries. Even when dog bites may be minor, one in five results in infection, requiring attention. This is all to say that dog bites are a serious problem that you should not take likely. Some homeowners' insurance companies may even deny coverage for homeowners with dogs for this reason. Others charge extra to provide protection for homes with dogs.
Many insurance companies have separated some dogs into a category of aggressive breeds. Owners of these breeds often vehemently disagree with this assessment. However, the breeds might include Rottweilers, Dobermans, Pitt Bull Terriers and Chow Chows. Dalmatians, Jack Russell Terriers and German Shepherds frequently make the list. Statistically, these dogs have a higher chance of aggressive behavior, even with the best love, care and training.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?
If you have a dog, specifically an aggressive breed, you could expect to pay more for your homeowners insurance. Your insurance company may also suggest you have fencing installed to minimize the chance of a dog injuring others.
If your response is How will my homeowners' insurance company know if I have a dog or not?, then you may be right. But if you don't disclose the pet ownership, the policy may not cover a bite that does happen. The result may be extremely costly because your insurer doesn't adequately help you. It is simply not worth the risk.
You should always be honest when filling out an application for your homeowners insurance policy. Tell them you have a dog, and they can help you find the best coverage. If you don't like the quote, compare rates with another company. Your independent agent is a great benefit to have in these cases.