I was talking to a good friend and she mentioned that she had decided to buy her children a dog for Christmas. He was excited for her as we shopped and selected toys and other accessories for her new pet. Amid the excitement, my insurance brain couldn’t help but consider the potential risks that owning a dog brings.
The number one claim from owners is a dog bite claim. The reason for this is that dogs sometimes feel unsafe around people they don’t know. Their natural instinct is to protect their owners and their puppies. Sometimes a dog can get so scared of strangers that it causes the dog to lash out. According to propertycasualty360.com, the average cost of a dog bite claim is $ 37,200. Depending on your insurance company, you may have limited or no coverage for this type of incident.
What if your dog bit a friend’s child? Could you cover the cost of medical bills? Failure to take care of bills could cause unnecessary stress on your relationship with friends or neighbors. If you don’t take proactive action after such an incident, you could also risk having your dog euthanized.
So what are some of the proactive things you can do if you decide to buy a dog? First, check your homeowners policy to see if you have coverage for this type of situation. It may be covered automatically or you can add it through an endorsement. Be aware that some insurance companies have a blacklist of dogs that they are unwilling to insure due to their aggressive nature.
Second, consider increasing the medical payment limit on your homeowners policy. Medical payments are no-fault coverage that allows you to pay medical bills for non-family members up to the limit provided in the policy. This is a simple and inexpensive way to cover others in the event something happens.
Third, consider putting your dog in a kennel when you have strangers to visit. If you’re not sure how your dog will respond, this is a great preventative step.
And lastly, socialize your dog regularly. Most cities have dog kennels or dog parks so your dog has a chance to hang out with other dogs and strangers.
Buying a pet is a big responsibility! By taking proactive steps as a pet owner, you can ensure that it will be an enjoyable experience!