Home Owner Insurance For Dog Owners: How To Reduce Rates

Learn how to keep your insurance rates low if you own a dog.

More than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. And the insurance industry reports that 1 in 3 liability claims are for dog bites. Because some estimates state that the insurance industry pays more than $1 billion a year in dog bite claims, homeowner's may pay more simply for owning a dog.

The best way to keep your homeowner's insurance premiums low is to ensure that your dog doesn't contribute to the dog bite statistics. One bite by your pet may result in increased premiums or worse, non-renewal of your homeowner's insurance.

Most renter's and homeowner's insurance policies provide $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. If your dog bites someone and the claim is within policy limits, your insurance will cover it. However, if the claim is above your policy limits, you will be responsible for the additional amount, including legal expenses.

There are several ways to reduce the chances that your dog will bite. First, think of safety when purchasing a dog. Dogs such as pit bulls are much more likely to bite than a poodle. Also, spend time with the dog before taking it home. This will give you an idea of the dog's personality and whether it has any aggressive tendencies.

Next, have your pet spayed or neutered. Statistics show that non-neutered dogs tend to be more aggressive and are three times more likely to bite.

It is also important to train and socialize your pet. Dogs that are used to other dogs and different people are less likely to become frightened and nervous around strangers. Many community centers offer dog-training classes. Every one in the household should attend the training classes with the dog. Learning simple commands and teaching your dog to obey them, may prevent a bite.

You should also be a responsible dog owner. This includes keeping your pet up to date on their shots and registering them each year in the county you live in. Keeping a dog on their leash and not allowing them to run around the neighborhood unattended is not only responsible, in most cases it is the law.

Dogs who are often left alone or chained up often become dangerous. So spend time with your dog and play with them in a non-aggressive manner. Playing games such as "fetch" are much less likely to lead to aggressive behavior than games such as "tug of war".

Because most dog bites occur on the homeowner's property, make sure that you monitor your dog around any visitors. Don't let people the dog doesn't know, especially children, approach the dog without supervision.

Before getting a dog, it is a good idea to review your insurance policy. While most insurers will still insure homeowners that own dogs, some are cracking down on the types of breeds they will cover. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers were responsible for more than half the fatalities resulting from dog bites. Check your homeowner's policy to find out if there are any restrictions on breeds and what your policy would cover.

While owning a dog is more likely to increase your rates than reduce them, it is possible to keep them reasonable. Being a responsible pet owner and taking steps to ensure that your dog won't bite, will not only keep your insurance premiums lower, it will also prevent costly insurance claims.

© High Speed Ventures 2011