As stated elsewhere on this site, homeowners insurance and renters insurance usually cover liability for dog bites. Consequently, those who are insured under such policies usually have coverage. However, there are policies that exclude dog bites, and those that provide inadequate limits for the victim.
Three solutions are available for dog owners who are uninsured or inadequately insured: umbrella coverage, excess coverage, and canine liability policies. An umbrella policy provides liability coverage for injuries, damages and losses that are not covered by a person's primary insurance (i.e., an umbrella would cover a dog bite that is not covered by the dog owner's homeowner policy). An excess policy provides a higher policy limit for losses that ARE covered by the primary insurance. A canine liability policy is a policy written specifically for dog owners for the purpose of insuring dogs or people who, for one reason or another, cannot obtain any other coverage for injuries, damages and losses caused by their dog(s).
The usual solution for dog owners is to purchase an umbrella policy. If you have homeowner insurance or renters insurance, and it does not cover canine inflicted injures, talk to your insurance agent about purchasing a "personal umbrella liability policy." It is form of umbrella liability insurance for individuals and their families. It provides coverage for (1) excess liability over underlying liability coverage (homeowners, auto) and (2) some of the liability exposures excluded by underlying policies, which might include canine liability (but be sure to check!). There is no standard form for this kind of policy, but generally the form requires the maintenance of underlying homeowners and auto liability policies with minimum combined single liability limits of $300,000 each. The important thing is to ascertain that the umbrella policy under consideration does not exclude canine inflicted injuries.
If you cannot get umbrella insurance, you need to purchase a policy of canine liability insurance. Despite the statement by the Insurance Information Institute that "[i]t is unlikely that insurers will begin offering specialty insurance policies just for dog bites since the cost of such policies would be prohibitive" (click here to read it), dog owner liability insurance (sometimes called "canine liability coverage") is available from a few brokers and companies in the United States. If you need to purchase it, the following companies are offering it. The information given herein was provided by those companies and is not verified; do not construe the inclusion of a company on this page to constitute an endorsement or recommendation of the company.
Federation of Insured Dog Owners
The Federation of Insured Dog Owners (F.I.D.O.) is a new organization that was launched to offer Covered Canine Liability Insurance Policies for ANY breed of dog. The developers of F.I.D.O. and its unique policy realized a much-needed niche market for a product that provides valuable liability coverage for pet owners at an affordable price.
F.I.D.O.'s Covered Canine Liability Insurance Policy will cover ANY breed of dog and protect pet owners should their dog's bite cause bodily injury. Policies start as low as $75 per year, per dog (plus an annual membership fee to The Federation of Insured Dog Owners) making it unique by offering more coverage than other policies and at a reasonable price. Because any dog can bite and cause injury, most housing communities (apartments, condos, etc.) have provisions for how a dog is to be maintained and insured. F.I.D.O.'s value extends beyond the affordable price by covering any breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Doberman pinschers, to name a few. The policies are currently available throughout Florida with other states to be added soon.
For more information on F.I.D.O. please visit Federation of Insured Dog Owners.
Einhorn Insurance Agency: Insuring Animals, Residents & Property Owners
Most insurance companies will not offer a home, condo, renter, liability or umbrella policy if you own a dog found on their "dangerous" breed list. The "usual suspects" on this list (which vary by insurance company) are Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Chows, Presa Canarios, Akitas, Great Danes, Bull Terriers, Wolf/Wolf Hybrids or any mix of these breeds. Many owners are faced with the following choices: move, find a new home for their beloved family member or try to find an insurance policy that covers their dog.
Even if a dog has a history of aggression, we can help. Our liability policies can meet landlord and Animal Control requirements by adding these entities as an ADDITIONAL INSURED. If your dog has an incident with aggression, they may be placed in quarantine by your local Animal Control. To get your dog home where they belong, Animal Control has a list of conditions you may need to meet. A common condition is for the pet owner to provide a Certificate of Insurance showing $100,000 of liability coverage, the wording "DANGEROUS DOG," and Animal Control listed as an Additional Insured on the policy.
Einhorn Insurance provides home, renter, condo and liability insurance regardless of your dog's breed. As proud Pit Bull owners, we could not imagine having to part with our loyal companion, Bernice. We help keep families together and sympathize with the unfair discrimination that other responsible dog owners face.
Lester Kalmanson Agency, Inc.
P.O. Box 940008
Maitland, Florida, 32794-0008
Kalmanson can sell insurance throughout the United States. If your homeowner insurance company is threatening to drop you or exclude dog liability from your homeowner policy, Kalmanson might help you in one of two ways, either by writing a new homeowner policy for you that also covers dog liability, or writing a dog liability policy that you can take to your existing homeowner insurance company, which will assure them that they will not be responsible for your dog(s) anymore.
Kalmanson writes a specific policy for each insured -- it is not a form policy. The rates vary like the policy itself. If your dog is powerful and is on the CDC list of dogs that bite, but your dog has not bitten anyone, then expect to pay under $1,000.00 per year for coverage up to $100,000.00, with a deductible of $1,500.00. This will protect you when your dogs are on your premises; the policy language must be consulted for attacks off your premises. The cost is not much greater for two dogs -- you probably will not have to pay double for two. If your dog has bitten someone and is on the CDC list, then expect to pay more than $1,000.00 per year, if you can get insurance at all.
Evolution Insurance Brokers
Rick Lindsey, President / Underwriter.
Phone: (801) 304-5510
Fax: (801) 304-5595.
Also doing business as Xinsurance.com, Evolution is owned by Prime Insurance Company, and it offers coverage nationwide. Agents and brokers can access the program. We customize coverage for each Insured. Animal Liability is a GROWING market. Many traditional policies now exclude coverage, and or some carrier will NOT write your Homeowners with animals. More and more regulations are requiring Liability coverage.
We can and have written Personal liability, Commercial liability and even Off Duty Police dogs when excluded from the Municipalities coverage and Homeowners
We offer customizations of our manuscript policy form to meet each insured need and other insurance? Coverage starts as low as $350.00 for 6 months, plus fee and tax, at a base limit of $100,000 in most cases. Rating is based on bread, weight, State, History and many other underwriting factors. Can quote any Liability within 24 hours. Can Also issue Lloyd's paper in all 50 States.