Q: I’m looking to obtain a dog, do I need to be concerned with my home insurance? Am I covered?
A: The liability in a home (or condo or tenant) insurance policy in most states covers animal bites; however, if you have a dog at the time your home insurance policy begins and don’t disclose it, a company can accuse you of fraud and deny your claim. Some states, such as Colorado, permit your insurer to limit the amount of coverage you have for an animal bite to $100,000 or less.
In addition, most companies will not accept you for insurance or allow you to continue coverage if you have or acquire the following breeds:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Bull Mastiff
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Wolf or Wolf Hybrid
This list may vary depending on the company, it is wise to check with your insurance agent before obtaining a dog. Some companies, for example, are OK with German Shepherds, while some might prohibit an Alaskan Husky.
If you have a pet that has bitten in the past, or a dog on the above list, you generally must obtain coverage with a specialty “surplus-lines” insurer at a much higher price.