Can I get my homeowner insurance policy to cover any damage my dog does?

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Sometimes, but it depends upon the kind of damage and the breed.

An umbrella homeowner policy contains many parts and one addressed the coverage should someone be injured on your property, such as if a dog bites the letter carrier.
Most homeowner policies provide a standard amount of liability coverage. If you are found responsible for someone’s injuries, your personal liability coverage may kick in and pay the damages.

The policy also includes another part: Medical payments coverage, which pays an injured party’s medical bills. As long as all conditions are met and no exclusions apply, your insurance company will pay the medical expenses, for a certain period of time, of someone injured on or through your property. This coverage doesn’t apply to your own medical expenses and the medical expenses of your household residents (except for your household employees.) Injuries that take place away from your premises are also covered, as long as you, another insured, a household employee, or your pet caused the injury.

The best thing to do is to consult with your insurance broker; if you still have unanswered questions, talk to a companion animal attorney or maybe someone even at your local ASPCA. The one thing you don’t want to do is adopt an animal and quickly have it turned into a financial liability–dog bites can cost a lot of money; in fact, the average claim is almost $19,000, and every year there are about 350,000 visits to the emergency room because of this.

BUT, some policies exclude certain breeds because of the high risk. Some insurance companies may even decline to write a policy. Some of the breeds that have been questioned are:

• Rottweiler
• Pit Bull
• Akita
• Doberman Pinscher
• Great Dane
• German Shepherd
• Chow
• Mastiff
• Alaskan Malamute
• Siberian Husky
• Staffordshire Bull Terrier
• Wolf hybrid

Know your policy thoroughly to be aware of any conditions and restrictions.

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