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Does My Dog Need Liability Insurance? Facts & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

handing out insurance documents

Liability insurance is recommended for all dog owners, no matter what sort of temperament a dog has. This is because you never know how your dog will react in different situations, especially when it feels very threatened.

Even if the friendliest and most easygoing dog isn’t exempt from potentially getting into accidents that cause damage to an individual or property. Paying for these damages can get very expensive, so it doesn’t hurt to have a pet liability insurance policy just in case. Let’s take a look at exactly what liability insurance is and why every dog owner should have it.

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What Is Liability Insurance?

In short, liability insurance will help cover you financially if you’ve been found responsible for any damages. It can help pay for costs related to damages to property, someone else’s injuries, and legal fees. It’s important to keep in mind that liability insurance doesn’t help pay for any of your own injuries or damages to your own property. It only pays the other party that’s received damages or injuries.

There are several different kinds of liability insurance. The type of liability insurance that applies to dogs is personal liability insurance. Personal liability insurance helps pay for any damages that you’ve caused or a family member has caused. Dog bites and incidents fall under this type of insurance.

couple with a dog getting a pet insurance
Image Credit: RobertKneschke, Shutterstock

Does My Dog Need Liability Insurance?

It’s recommended that all dog owners have liability insurance because of the many instances where dogs can be responsible for damages or injuries. Liability insurance isn’t applicable to only dogs with aggressive behaviors. Accidents can happen with even the most well-behaved dogs.

For example, playful dogs may accidentally bump into small children and cause injuries. Your dog may cause damage to your neighbor’s property if it starts digging under a fence between your properties. Your dog might also chase a squirrel and end up knocking over and breaking items on someone else’s property.

Accidents and injuries caused by dogs can be extremely expensive. For example, dog bite settlements can cost between $30,000 to $50,000. Medical treatment for dog-related accidents can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars as well.

You can purchase liability insurance plans with varying levels of coverage, and they’re often very cheap. Some insurance companies offer plans that have premiums that are less than $15 a month. The average cost of liability insurance plans ends up being between $150 to $300 a year.

Where to Get Liability Insurance

Major insurance companies offer liability insurance, and you can sometimes find discounts if you bundle your insurance with the same company. So, it doesn’t hurt to check what liability insurance options your current auto or homeowners insurance company offers.

You can also find some insurance companies that specialize in pet liability insurance. These companies go into more detail and procure liability insurance plans that are most applicable to your dog’s age, breed, and temperament.

man signing pet insurance policies
Image Credit: Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

Difference Between Liability Insurance and Pet Insurance

Both liability insurance and pet insurance provide coverage for accidents and injuries. While liability insurance helps cover someone else’s costs for damages and injuries, pet insurance provides coverage for accidents and injuries to your own pet. You can expect pet insurance to help pay for your dog’s injuries, like broken bones and ingesting something harmful. They’ll also cover diagnostic tests used to help treat injuries, such as MRIs, blood tests, and biopsies.

Keeping Your Dog Safe With Liability Insurance

While liability insurance is a good safety net for any unforeseen accidents, it’s not the be-all-end-all solution for dogs with aggressive tendencies. Liability insurance should be treated as an added measure of safety, and responsible dog owners will pursue other means of ensuring their dogs are well-behaved and not a safety threat to their communities.

Dogs must receive the proper care and attention to live happy and healthy lives. They require daily exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship to prevent boredom and engaging in unwanted behaviors. If your dog shows signs of aggression, you can work with a professional dog trainer to understand what triggers your dog’s aggression and eliminate it. Not all dogs will be social and friendly toward other dogs, but they can learn and be trained to refrain from showing aggression.

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While we can’t predict what accidents your dog will get into, you can always be prepared to reduce the financial burden that some damages can cause. Fortunately, liability insurance plans are relatively cheap while offering substantial coverage. Start by looking into coverage options offered by any insurance companies that you already use. You can also look into companies that specialize in pet liability insurance to purchase a plan that best fits your needs.

Featured Image Credit: RODNAE Productions, Pexels

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