Animal Liability Insurance

Animal liability covers damage caused by your pets, most notably dogs. If you have a dog, it’s worth understanding whether you need animal liability coverage, and whether it covers damage or injury caused by your animal off of your property.

What Is Animal Liability Insurance?

Animal liability insurance can be added to your home insurance policy to cover bodily injury or property damage your pets cause folks who aren’t residents of your home. For example, if your very defensive Pomeranian bites the mailman, this is the coverage that can help pay for:

  • Medical expenses related to the injury.
  • Legal costs if you are sued over damage the pet caused (up to policy limits).

Those costs are not small, either. The average dog bite claim costs $39,017 as of 2018, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

If you are a proud pet parent, it’s important to make sure your home insurance protects your critters, too. The bad news: not all homeowners insurance policies offer animal liability coverage as part of the standard policy.

How Animal Liability Coverage Works

If your homeowners insurance policy provides personal liability coverage and doesn’t exclude animal liability, then your personal liability coverage extends to your pets. Personal liability insurance can cover damages and lawsuits for property damage or bodily injuries you cause to another person. So if your pet is the one who causes the damage and your policy doesn’t exclude animal liability, your homeowners insurance would help pay for medical bills and legal costs if your furry friend hurts a visitor, up to your policy limits.

However, if your home insurance has an animal liability exclusion, you do not have protection for incidents like dog bites. In this case, you may want to consider purchasing a separate animal liability insurance policy or an animal liability endorsement (an add-on to your home insurance policy). This option usually offers $25-$50k of animal liability protection.

It’s worth doing your research, though. Some insurance providers will only offer animal liability coverage if your dog is on your property, not off your property. That means any incidents that happen on walks or at the dog park would have to be paid for out of pocket.

What Animal Liability Doesn’t Cover

Animal Liability typically does not cover:

  • Damage to your property caused by your pet.
  • Impoundment costs if law enforcement insists that your pet be impounded for a period
  • Vaccination costs if the impounding facility finds that your pet is not up to date on vaccines.

Animal liability typically only covers small animals which you own for personal use, not commercial use (such as animals used for breeding or farm animals).

Some insurance providers consider certain breeds of dogs as aggressive and statistically more likely to cause an incident (trust us, we wish that weren’t the case. All dogs are good dogs!). As a result, the type of dog you have may result in an increased premium or possibly lead to a rejected insurance application.

Failing to disclose your dog to an insurer could result in a claim being rejected, leaving you out of pocket for potentially large sums of money.

If you have questions about whether your fluffy friend is covered by your Kin policy, give us a call.

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