In some cases, it could be worthwhile, but in others it’s probably mandatory

If you are like most new dog owners, you’re probably going all out for your pooch. It’s quite possible he now has more bones, chew toys, and plastic squeaky things than you can count. You may even plan to dress him up in a funny sweater for your Christmas card. He’s not just a pet; he is already a valued member of your family.

While there’s nothing wrong with any of that (though people who abhor clothes on animals may disagree about the sweater), you still have to recognize that a dog is an animal. Even the calmest, sweetest dogs with no history of aggressive behavior can bite someone. And dog bites are one of the most common homeowner liability claims, accounting for one-third of them in 2016 and totaling more than $600 million in claims. This averages out to about $33,000 per claim.

Why would I need extra insurance for my dog?

There are certain dogs that are considered more dangerous than others. While some are obvious – like pit bulls and Rottweilers – this list also includes chows and Akitas. Plus, if your dog is a mix of any of these breeds, most likely he will be lumped into this group.

But wait, doesn’t homeowner’s insurance cover things like dog bites?

While it’s true that a homeowners policy does include the medical expenses related to a dog bite, it is possible if you have a dog on the list, he won’t be covered. But the good news is that in most cases you will have the option of buying a supplemental policy. Canine liability insurance will keep you protected in the event of any incident, even if someone is injured just by playing with your dog. One of the first things you should do is call your insurance company to see what your homeowner’s policy covers – or doesn’t cover – and to learn about your options.

How to help ensure you never need to make a claim for your dog

While it’s impossible to have total control over an animal that still has at least some inherent connection to wolves, there are things you can do to make your dog a good citizen:

• Spay or neuter: Dogs that are fixed – especially males – are usually not as aggressive

• Training – Either on your own or with a pro, training is an excellent way to manage a dog’s behavior

• Socialization – It’s important that your dog not fear strangers, so look for opportunities to socialize

• Supervision – Don’t leave your dog alone with someone he doesn’t know, especially children

• Playtime – It’s a good idea to play games that don’t involve aggression, such as fetch as opposed to tug-of-war

• Fence – If your dog will spend time outside without you, a fence – either physical or electric – is crucial

• Leash – This one may be obvious, but whenever you bring your dog anywhere, make sure he is always leased

Avante Insurance will keep everyone in your family covered, even your furry members

You of course want the best for your new dog, which is why insurance shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten. If your homeowners insurance doesn’t offer you the coverage you need or you want a separate policy for your dog, get in touch with Avante Insurance. Even if you have been turned down by other agencies, we may be able to help.

Call our office at 305-648-7070 or just send us a message through our online contact form.