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Dogs are man’s best friend, which is why there are nearly 90 million dogs that have found homes in 63.4 million American households. These domesticated pets are a part of the family, but as any dog owner knows, even the most well-mannered dogs can bite or cause some chaos when they feel threatened or are trying to protect their owners.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), around 4.7 million people in the U.S. experience dog bites each year. Worse, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that the highest injury rate was for children between the ages of five and nine years old. More than half of these incidents occurred at home with dogs that the victim knows.

Key Takeaways

  • Dog liability insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers all kinds of incidents and damages that can occur if you are a pet owner.
  • Dog liability insurance is designed to protect homeowners and renters from a host of potential mishaps like injury or property damage.
  • provides dog liability insurance policy that can cost as little as $10 per month for policies with between $10,000 and $30,000 of coverage.
  • Companies like Farmers Insurance and Esurance offer pet coverage with the typical home insurance policy.

The damages can be much more complicated when a guest is bitten and injured in your home. It raises an interesting – and important question of whether you need dog liability insurance when you own a dog.

dog liability insurance

We’ve investigated dog liability insurance to provide you everything you need to know to make sure Fido’s mishaps are covered.

What is dog liability insurance?

Dog liability insurance covers all kinds of incidents and damages that can occur when you own a pet. According to animal liability insurer XINSURANCE, dogs are a leading cause of homeowners insurance claims.

What does dog liability insurance cover?

Dog liability insurance covers homeowners and renters from a host of potential mishaps and injuries. If your dog were to bite someone, your dog liability insurance would cover the injuries and help protect you from any legal repercussions, such as a lawsuit. Dog liability insurance does not cover damages to your property or injuries to you or other household members. Much like liability homeowners insurance, it only covers damages done to others outside the household.

A dog bite isn’t the only kind of damage you can incur with a pet. Your canine companion may also create other damages, such as scratching, chewing, and biting, which are all common with dogs who experience separation anxiety. These behaviors can also take their toll on your home, creating significant damages that your dog liability insurance can cover.

As you’ll later read, some home insurance companies exclude certain breeds of dogs from coverage under the liability portion of homeowners insurance. Still, dog liability insurance companies tend to cover any breed.

Dog liability insurance is a great option to fill the gaps in your homeowners’ insurance coverage.

Are exotic pets covered?

Sometimes, there are pets of the more exotic variety, a la Tiger King. Still, you may have difficulty finding coverage for them unless you get an exotic animal liability insurance policy.

There are 20 states that have outlawed exotic pets with a comprehensive ban, a sweeping measure that includes animals it deems extremely dangerous, such as wild cats, large non-domesticated carnivores, reptiles, and primates. Thirteen states have partial bans depending on the animal, and only 14 allow exotic pets with either a license or permit.

If you have an exotic pet, you should check with your homeowners or renters insurance provider to see what exceptions and requirements may apply. Then, consider an animal liability insurance policy through a specialized insurance company, like the exotic animal liability insurance offered by Xinsurance.

Dog liability insurance cost

A dog liability insurance policy can cost as little as $10 per month from providers like for policies with between $10,000 and $30,000 of coverage and a deductible of $250 to $2,500.

The cost for your dog liability insurance policy will depend on what coverage you select and then factors like your dog’s age, breed, size, and history.

Where to get dog liability insurance?

Some companies offer pet coverage with the typical home insurance policy, such as Farmer’s Insurance and Esurance.

If you are looking for specific insurance to add to your regular home insurance coverage, these are some popular providers for dog liability insurance.

  • Lester Kalmanson
  • Xinsurance
  • com
  • Trupanion
  • Einhorn Insurance
  • Dean Insurance Agency (formerly Federation of Insured Dog Owners, or F.I.D.O.

Are dogs covered under homeowners insurance?

You may be wondering why you could need dog liability insurance when you have great home insurance already. And, it is possible that your homeowners policy has your situation adequately covered.

The average home insurance policy covers a homeowner’s basic property, including their home’s physical structure and the belongings inside of it. 

Most home insurance policies include the following types of coverage:

  • Structure of your home (Dwelling)
  • Personal belongings
  • Liability protection
  • Medical payments to others
  • Additional living expenses (A.L.E.)

Home insurance policies rarely offer specific inclusions for pet insurance coverage. Instead, your home insurance policy’s liability and medical payments cover dog bites and other injuries or damages incurred by our furry friends, up to your coverage limits.

Most often, the liability portion of your policy offers anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 of coverage per policy, with medical payment limits that usually hover between $1,000 and $5,000. If you have an umbrella policy, III reports that liability coverage limits tend to be much higher, falling anywhere between $1 million and $10 million per policy.

There are some limitations, however.

Some insurance companies specifically exclude dog bites or coverage for dogs of a certain breed. And, if you haven’t told your insurance company about your dog and then try to file a claim, they might deny the claim.

What breeds of dogs will insurance companies not cover?

There are some breeds of dogs that home insurance companies are hesitant to cover because they are considered high-risk animals. Perhaps, they are more likely to attack or have a more sensitive temperament.

Either way, some insurance companies flat-out refuse to cover these popular breeds under homeowners insurance.

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Cane Corso Mastiff
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Mastiff breed
  • Pit Bull
  • Perro de Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Wolf hybrid

Policies vary from company to company; some insurance companies may issue a decision on a case-by-case basis, looking at the individual dog rather than the entire breed. Others may require you to sign a liability waiver or increase your home insurance policy’s cost to help cover the additional risk.  It is also always possible that an insurance company decides not to renew your policy, choosing instead to cancel the policy when coverage ends.

Regardless of your homeowner insurance policy, or even your renter’s insurance policy, you should always check with your insurance provider to see what options you have regarding protecting you and your entire family, including your canine companions.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to tell my homeowners insurance that I have a dog?

Homeowners should always talk to their homeowners insurance companies about any dogs they have. It’s important to ensure that you are protected with the right coverage if there is an injury or any damages that occur in your home. You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to find out that you do not have enough coverage for your household.

Do I have to add my dog to my homeowners insurance?

Some home insurance companies may be unable to help you if you have a pet not accepted for coverage. Not all home insurance companies will offer insurance for dogs or coverage for dog-related damages, so you should talk to your insurer to determine what option you have for your pets.

Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites?

Some home insurance policies will cover dog bites under the liability and medical payments portion of your policy. However, some insurance companies may have limitations or restrictions regarding the size, breed, or history of certain dogs, so you should always check your provider to be sure.

Does renters insurance cover dog bites?

Renters insurance may protect from dog-related claims and injuries through the personal liability protection from your policy. Depending on the kind of dog you have and where you live, you may need to obtain separate dog liability insurance. Your landlord may also require that you carry specific insurance to protect the rental property.

The verdict on dog liability insurance

Our dogs are a much-loved part of our families, but they can cause damage and injury just like people.

However, unlike people, the damages that dogs incur are not always covered in the everyday home insurance policy, so it’s important to be proactive and talk to your home insurance company or renters insurance company to find out what options you have when it comes to coverage for your pets.

Even if your existing insurance provider does not provide dog liability insurance, many other insurance providers will. Sometimes, all that’s needed is an additional rider to add that extra protection and peace of mind for you and your whole family, Fido included.

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Lena Borrelli
Contributing Researcher


Lena Borrelli is a freelance writer from sunny Tampa Bay who has worked with such leading industry titans as Gronk Fitness, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and Simon Corporation. Her work has most recently been published on sites like TIME, Microsoft News, Bankrate, Investopedia, Fiscal Tiger, The Simple Dollar, ADT and Home Advisor.