Here's How Adopting a Dog Might Impact Your Homeowners Insurance

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  • Some homeowners insurance companies will raise your premium rates when you adopt a dog.
  • Certain dog breeds might exclude you from being able to get coverage.

Don't be surprised if your costs increase.

Adopting a dog can be a wonderful experience. But it can also be an expensive one. From food to supplies to pet insurance, you might incur a number of costs in the course of welcoming a dog into your home.

Adopting a dog might also have an impact on your homeowners insurance. And that's something you'll need to prepare for.

Your costs might rise

When homeowners insurance companies write policies, they take different risk factors into account. Adopting a dog can be considered a means of adding to the risk of property damage. Because of that, your homeowners insurance premium costs might rise once you adopt a dog.

Also, it's common for homeowners insurance to include liability coverage, which protects you in the event that someone sustains an injury on your property. If you bring a dog into the mix, there's the potential for that dog to attack the delivery person who comes to your door, or to knock over a visiting child and injure them. And so your premium costs might rise once that risk comes into play.

Your coverage options might be more limited

Some homeowners insurance companies exclude certain dog breeds from coverage. These commonly include pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, and other large breeds, or breeds with a reputation for aggressive behavior.

If the breed of your dog prevents you from keeping your current coverage, then you may need to shop around for new coverage. Or, you may be able to keep your coverage in some capacity but purchase a separate canine liability policy.

Keep in mind that some homeowners insurance companies do not exclude specific breeds. Rather, they focus on a given dog's bite history instead.

State Farm, for example, expressly says on its website, "It's not the breed, it's the dog bite." As such, State Farm does not even ask about dog breed when homeowners apply for insurance. If you're adopting a pit bull, for example, or a similar breed that may have a reputation for aggression, then it could be wise to look at homeowners insurance companies who take a similar approach.

No matter what you do, don't lie

You may be tempted to withhold the fact that you're adopting a dog from your homeowners insurance company, or to lie about its size or breed. Don't do that.

Lying like that will commonly void your homeowners insurance policy, which won't help you one bit. A far better bet is to be truthful and seek out alternate coverage if you need to.

Another thing you may want to do is talk to your homeowners insurance company before adopting a dog. Doing so might spare you a host of headaches.

If you're not drawn to one particular dog breed and it turns out your homeowners insurance company bans certain breeds, you might know to steer clear of them. Of course, that's a good plan in theory, but it may not help if you visit your local animal shelter and fall in love with a delightful pit bull puppy. But it's still a good idea to have that information ahead of time so you know what you're dealing with.

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