How to Get Police Dog Insurance

Three Parts:Finding InsuranceBuying the InsuranceGetting Insurance if You Take Dogs Home

Police dogs are an important part of many police departments. Like all law enforcement personnel, however, police dogs can be injured on the job. Police dogs can suffer toxin ingestion, cuts, musculoskeletal injuries, and gunshot wounds.[1] Police dogs are also highly valuable, and their deaths could represent the loss of a significant investment. Accordingly, you should purchase dog insurance.

Part 1
Finding Insurance

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    Identify the type of policy you want. There are three kinds of insurance you could purchase for police dogs. You should begin by deciding which kind of coverage you want. Generally, you can get:
    • Insurance that covers treatment for an animal’s injuries. Police dogs generally need more coverage than what is offered by traditional pet insurance, which usually doesn’t cover illnesses or injuries a police dog would suffer in the line of duty.[2] Fortunately, some insurers offer policies that cover an animal’s injuries or illnesses.
    • Life insurance. With life and theft insurance, you can get reimbursed for the value of the police dog should it die due to a covered accident, injury, sickness, or disease. These policies can also cover losses if the animal is stolen.[3]
    • Liability insurance. Sometimes your police dogs might bite someone accidentally or use excessive force, injuring the suspect. If you are just starting up a K9 unit, you should talk to your police chief or city manager. Liability insurance for dog bites could be already included in your department’s general liability insurance.
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    Search online for insurers. Some insurers advertise their policies online. You can enter “police dog insurance” or “life and theft insurance” into your favor web browser and search around. Be sure that the insurer offers coverage specifically for police dogs.
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    Contact an insurance broker. If you need additional help finding insurance for your police dogs, then you should think about contacting an insurance broker. You can find insurance brokers in your phone book or by searching online.
    • Ask another K9 unit in your area which broker (if any) they used to help purchase dog insurance.
    • You also might want to talk to your veterinarian, if you can’t find an insurer.
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    Check eligibility requirements. Each insurer will have different requirements. Some might exclude certain breeds. Others, however, have fewer restrictions. Trupanion, for example, has only two qualifications to be eligible:[4]
    • You enroll the police dog between eight weeks of age and before it turns 14.
    • You live in the U.S., Canada, or Puerto Rico.
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    Ask about dental coverage. Healthy teeth and gums are essential for police dogs. Your police dog might have to bite and hold suspects, and the strength of the hold could be compromised by loose teeth and poor dental hygiene. You should ask the insurer whether dental insurance is available as well.
    • Sometimes dental coverage is included in the policy.[5] However, some insurers will add dental coverage as a supplement to their policy.

Part 2
Buying the Insurance

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    Get a quote. Contact the insurer directly if you don’t have an insurance broker. Many insurers will provide quotes online if you provide them with the following information:
    • the sex of the dog
    • the dog’s age
    • the dog’s breed
    • your zip code
    • your email
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    Compare plans. In addition to a quote, you should also get either a sample policy or an overview of the policy for each insurer that you contact. You want to compare each insurer’s coverage as well as their price. Look for the following, which should appear in most insurance plans:[6]
    • The deductible amount. A deductible is the amount of money you spend out-of-pocket before the insurer begins to cover expenses.
    • The percentage of costs covered. This is called the “reimbursement rate.” Some insurers will cover 90% of the costs related to the illness or injury.
    • Payment limits. Some policies might cover expenses only up to a certain dollar amount. Once you reach the maximum, you are responsible for all expenses.
    • Any limitations on what vet or specialty hospital you can take the animal to.
    • Whether pre-existing conditions are covered. Generally, they won’t be, but you should still check.
    • Any waiting periods. Some policies won’t kick in until 30 days or more have passed since you signed up.
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    Pay your premiums. You should work out a payment schedule with the insurer. Generally, you will pay monthly premiums, though paying in a lump sum might be easier for your department. Contact your insurance agent and discuss possible payment plans.
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    Make a claim, if necessary. If the dog is injured or becomes sick, you might have to make a claim to the insurance company. You should read your policy for details about how to make a claim. Generally, you can’t wait too long. Some insurers will require that you submit your claim within 90 days of the treatment date.[7] You will also need to submit the following:
    • a completed claim form, which you can get from your insurer
    • supporting invoices
    • copies of complete medical records for the police dog

Part 3
Getting Insurance if You Take Dogs Home

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    Check your homeowner’s policy. Liability issues arise when handlers take dogs home with them to live during off-hours. If the dog bites someone while at your home, then you could be on the hook for the injury. You might think your homeowner’s policy will cover the bite, but many homeowner’s insurance policies exclude dog bites.
    • Read your homeowner’s insurance policy and check if dog bites are excluded.
    • Some policies might cover one bite, or they might cover only certain breeds of dogs.[8][9] Direct any questions about your policy to your homeowner’s insurance agent.
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    Research dog bite insurance. If you own the dog, then you will probably want to get dog bite insurance for when the dog is at your home. You should research insurers by typing “dog owner’s liability insurance” into a search engine. You can get quotes by giving the insurer information about your dog.[10]
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    Follow your unit’s policies. Your police unit might take out liability insurance to cover the dogs, even if they go home with you. Make sure that the coverage extends for all 24 hours, even when the dog is on your property.[11] Also make sure that you follow your unit’s standards for sheltering the dog.
    • For example, some units will give you a kennel to install at your home. The policy usually requires that you shelter the dog in the kennel when the handler isn’t present and that the kennel be fenced in.[12]
    • The policy also requires that the dog be under the handler’s direct control if the handler is present.

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