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Why Your Dog Needs Liability Insurance

John Lawson

2022-02-14

One of the questions I'm asked most often from new people is, "My dog isn't a biter, do we need to pay for liability insurance?" And if they're not a biter, it's usually something else that makes them "not a good candidate" for insurance.   

But here's the deal: When you decide to get a dog and bring him into your life, there's an implicit agreement that goes along with it: If you take on this responsibility and he causes injury or property damage he'll be held accountable just like any other adult in your life would be. 

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Do you need liability insurance?

Liability Insurance isn't about whether your dog will bite anyone; it's about holding you both responsible if something happens. Imagine for a moment driving down the road without auto insurance, saying "I'm not worried about getting into an accident because I'll just pay out of pocket if something happens." You'd be considered crazy. 

I get that some people think their dog is "perfect" and it's highly unlikely that anything would happen- which is why you should always compare prices before committing to anyone's plan. Depending on your zip code, liability insurance can start as low as $10/mo, so there's really no reason not to make sure you're covered (in case you were wondering, the average claim paid by Embrace over the past 3 years was $2,076 - which you can bet will increase over time as dog ownership costs continue to rise).


If you're not sure if your dog is a good candidate for liability insurance, here are a few things to keep in mind: 

1. Not every dog can qualify for any one plan (policy). Each company has different underwriting guidelines and there are countless factors that go into determining whether or not they'll insure you- from breed restrictions, all the way down to where you live. The best thing you can do is get a quote so you know exactly what it will cost before committing to anything. And just because your neighbor was able to insure their dog, doesn't mean yours will be covered too- every situation is unique! 

2. Your dog doesn't need to be perfect, they just need to pass the underwriting process. 

3. Many companies require that you've had your dog licensed with your city or county before applying- so if you're new to the area and haven't registered yet, don't let it stop you from looking into coverage! If for some reason the company won't insure you, there are plenty of other options out there (just be sure to get quotes from more than one insurer).

4. Liability Insurance isn't only "the law in some states"- it's also a good idea. As I mentioned in my post, not every dog is cut out for life with young children- which is why's smart to have liability insurance in place even if your dog is a perfect angel.

5. If you have a dog with a bite history, it's best to have coverage in place before they injure anyone or damage property. 

6. In some states, having an insured policy can help qualify your dog as a service animal and give him the same rights as recognized service dogs- which means he may be allowed into public establishments that won't allow traditional pets. I'm not saying don't get insurance without checking first, but it never hurts to compare prices!

7. Even if you've never had any trouble with your dog and the company tells you there's nothing they can do because of "breed restrictions" or "dangerous dogs", their underwriters may actually be able to do something in the future if needed- so why not get yourself covered?

8. Your dog is part of your family, which means that when something happens he'll be just as much at risk for financial hardships as you or any other member of your household would be. If he has an accident or gets sick and can't work, will you have enough money saved up to take care of him until things settle down again?

9. Having Liability Insurance doesn't make you irresponsible, it makes you a good parent/guardian who's willing to accept responsibility where applicable- which every dog deserves!   

Even if nothing ever happened, wouldn't it still feel nice knowing that there was someone out there who has your back? If you can't imagine a scenario where you might need it, here are a few real-life scenarios I came across from the past year that will hopefully help to open your eyes:


Conclusion

This is a great example of how important it is to invest in insurance even for those who don't think they need it. I provide many different reasons why liability coverage should be considered, and hopefully, by reading this you will be convinced to take action now before anything happens!