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How can I get my dog included on my homeowners' insurance policy?

Readers may remember our Sept. 11 blog post, which was about homeowners’ insurance and dogs. As we said then, many insurance policies do not cover any injuries caused by certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls.

An article on goes into more detail. It notes that some insurance companies will cover dogs on a homeowners’ policy, but have a “one bite” policy: it will pay the bill the first time a homeowner’s dog hurts someone, but will cancel the policy if it ever happens again.

Besides pit bulls, insurance companies tend to put certain breeds on a black list, because they believe those breeds are prone to biting. Owners of German shepherds, chows, Akitas and Siberian Huskies may have a hard time getting coverage for their pets. Only two states prevent this form of insurance discrimination by dog breed, and Minnesota is not among them.

The good news is, nearly any dog can be insured. It may take some extra shopping around, or buying a separate policy for dog liability, but the cost of paying a dog bite victim’s damages out of pocket could be much higher.

In addition, paying for dog obedience training could also be a good investment. Some insurance companies won’t cover a dog unless it has been professionally trained. This can significantly reduce the chances of an incident.

Even if you take all the necessary steps to get your dog covered, your insurance company may try to get out of paying a claim after a dog bite. If that happens, you could need the help of an attorney.

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