What to Watch Out for When Buying Insurance

There are many things to consider when purchasing an insurance policy, such as how much you need and what it will cost. For comprehensive general information, see Insure.Com – The Insurance Website. When it comes to owning a dog, you also must make sure that your homeowners or renters insurance policy does NOT —

  • Exclude dog bites.
  • Exclude your breed of dog.
  • Limit the number of times the policy will pay for dog bites. 
  • Limit the amount of money that the company will pay if the accident is caused by your dog (in other words, a specific limitation which is lower than the general limit of the policy). 
  • Exclude some of the people living at the insured residence.
  • Cover accidents that happen only at the insured residence. 

The amount of coverage that you purchase should be determined by considering two factors:

  • The amount that will actually protect you and your assets if your dog bites a person. A limit of $300,000.00 or more is recommended for all medium and large dogs. Anything less than $100,000.00 will NOT protect you if a child is bitten in the face.
  • The amount that might be required by law. Under certain circumstances, you might be required to purchase insurance in order to keep your dog, such as when your dog is declared dangerous or vicious. Similarly, there are cities and states that require proof of insurance as a condition of keeping all dogs or certain breeds of dog. Find out what the minimum is and then purchase at least that amount (but not less than $100,000 for a small dog or $300,000 for medium or large dogs).

You also should purchase an “umbrella” policy. It will provide higher limits (usually $1 million) and should cover accidents that are excluded by your homeowners or renters policy. The key things to look out for are —

  • Does it “follow form”? In other words, does it limit coverage to the same accidents as your homeowners or renters policy? You want an umbrella policy that does NOT “follow form.”
  • Does it contain exclusions or limitations similar to the ones described above? You do NOT want the same exclusions or limitations.