How to Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance

Two Parts:Researching InsurersBuying Insurance

Dog owners are liable for injuries caused when their dog bites someone or otherwise destroys someone’s property. If you don’t want to pay out of pocket for the damage, then you will need dog owner’s liability insurance—before the dog bites someone. Thankfully, many homeowner’s policies include coverage for dog bites. However, if yours does not, then you will need to think about getting either an umbrella policy or a specific specialty policy.

Part 1
Researching Insurers

  1. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 1
    Decide if homeowner’s insurance is sufficient. If your dog bites someone, then it should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. With most homeowner’s insurance, the injury doesn’t have to incur on your property. Instead, the insurance will cover any liability you incur. You can get coverage worth several hundred thousand dollars.
    • Homeowner’s insurance companies do have a “one-bit rule.” This means that the company will usually pay for the first bite then quickly cancel your insurance.
    • You also might be able to get coverage for certain dog breeds which are commonly thought dangerous: pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans, etc.[1] If you have one of these dogs, then you might not be able to get homeowner’s insurance coverage.
  2. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 2
    Ask about umbrella coverage. You might already have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance but it doesn’t cover dog bites. Instead of buying separate liability insurance for dogs, you could ask your current insurer to provide you with “umbrella” coverage, which is essentially supplemental coverage.[2]
    • Call your insurance agent and ask about whether or not you can get umbrella coverage. You will need to already have the underlying homeowners insurance.
    • Tell your agent why you want umbrella coverage. Some umbrella policies may exclude canine coverage.
  3. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 3
    Find insurers. If you need separate liability insurance for dogs, then you will need to research specialty insurers. You can research on the Internet for “dog bite insurance” or “dog owner’s liability insurance” and see what pulls up. Some of the more popular dog owner’s liability insurers are:
    • Federation of Insured Dog Owners
    • Einhorn Insurance Agency
    • Lester Kalmanson Agency, Inc.
    • Pet Protection Pak
  4. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 4
    Get quotes. You should contact the insurance carrier and ask for quotes. Some insurers will have websites where you can get a quote by entering requested information. The insurer will want to know:[3][4]
    • The age, sex, and weight of the dog.
    • The dog’s breed. Some insurers might not insure dangerous breeds. The insurer will let you know.
    • If the dog has been spayed or neutered.
    • If the dog has been vaccinated.
    • Whether you rent or own your home.
    • If the dog has previously bitten someone. You can expect a higher premium if your dog has a history of biting someone. If it has, then you might be denied coverage altogether.
    • Whether the dog has been trained.
    • If your property is fenced.
    • Your name and contact information.
  5. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 5
    Check how comprehensive the coverage is. Not all policies will be the same. Check to see if the policy covers the following:[5]
    • legal fees
    • medical expenses for the person injured, including plastic surgery
    • loss of income for the person injured
    • medical expenses for any injured dog (excluding yours)
    • coverage for property damage

Part 2
Buying Insurance

  1. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 6
    Sign a contract. After you have compared insurers on price and comprehensiveness of coverage, you should pick an insurer and tell them that you would like to buy their insurance. If the insurer needs additional information not provided for the quote, then you should get it to them.
    • Sign the contract and return it to the insurer. Keep a copy for your records.
  2. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 7
    Pay your premiums. You need to pay your monthly premiums in order to keep your coverage current. You should set any reminders necessary so that you don’t forget. If your coverage lapses and your dog bites someone, then you will not be covered.
  3. Image titled Buy Dog Owners Liability Insurance Step 8
    File a claim, if necessary. In the unfortunate event that your dog bites someone, you should act quickly to get the victim necessary medical attention. You will also need to take steps in order to file a proper claim with the insurer. After attending to the medical needs of the victim, you should do the following:[6]
    • Take a picture (if possible) of the victim’s injury.
    • Get your dog secured in a safe area.
    • Document the names of the victims and witnesses
    • Call the police or other appropriate authority
    • Immediately report the injury to your insurer. Your policy may state the number of days that you have to report (e.g., 10).


  • As you research insurance companies, make sure that you are not buying “pet insurance.” Many companies offer pet insurance which is essentially health insurance for your animal. You are interested in liability insurance, not health insurance.
  • Realize that once you make a claim for a dog bite, the insurer may drop your coverage or increase your premiums.

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Categories: Pets and Animals