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Why Your Dog Needs Liability Insurance Even If He’s Well-Behaved

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy young woman cuddling australian shepherd dog while sitting on couch

Why Your Dog Needs Liability Insurance Even If He’s Well-Behaved

Being a dog owner often comes with surprises, even if you have the most well-behaved dog. Accidents can happen to even the best dogs and dog owners. While you may be able to train your dog to become a polite canine citizen, its behavior isn’t completely controllable, and you also can’t control outside forces that may cause your dog to react.

Fortunately, liability insurance is available to help you pay for any expensive bills accrued by such accidents. This type of insurance can help pay for damages and end up saving you a significant amount of money.


What Is Pet Liability Insurance?

Pet liability insurance is a type of insurance that covers damages related to incidents involving your dog. It can help pay for any fees associated with injuries your dog has caused on people or other animals and damages your dog made on someone else’s property.

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Image by: JumpStory

Difference Between Pet Liability Insurance and Pet Insurance

There’s a clear difference between pet liability insurance and pet insurance. Pet liability insurance deals specifically with damages or injuries your dog has caused. Pet insurance helps pay for your dog’s own veterinary care bills. If you enroll your dog in a pet insurance plan, you can expect to receive coverage for items like diagnostic testing, surgeries, and in-patient stays. Pet insurance plans will only help pay for veterinary services and procedures completed on the pet under the plan.

So, if your dog has pet insurance and it accidentally injures another dog, its pet insurance won’t help pay for the other dog’s injuries. If your own dog gets injured, your pet insurance company can help pay for its veterinary care fees.

Why Is Pet Liability Insurance Important?

Just because a dog isn’t aggressive doesn’t mean it doesn’t need liability insurance. Well-meaning dogs can accidentally cause injuries or damage. For example, your dog may accidentally run into someone while chasing a ball, and the individual may trip and sprain an ankle. Larger dogs may cause damage to property while they’re playing and may unintentionally break items while running around.

Data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that about 18,000 dog bite claims were filed in 2021,1 and the average cost of these claims was $49,000. More complicated dog-related lawsuits can cost even more. Pet liability insurance can help pay for at least some of these claims. So, even if your dog is friendly and gets along well with strangers and other animals, it’s worth exploring liability insurance in case of an accident.

divider-dog paw

How to Get Pet Liability Insurance

Some major insurance companies may cover dog-related damages under homeowners’ or renters’ insurance plans. So, you can always check to see if pet liability coverage can be included in already existing insurance policies that you have. Sometimes, you can bundle pet liability insurance with another type of insurance plan to save on costs and reduce premium amounts.

You can also purchase pet liability insurance plans from companies that specialize in this type of plan. These types of insurance companies often have more customizable plans to ensure you get the appropriate amount of coverage for your dog.

woman and dog sitting on sofa at home
Image by: Megan Betteridge, Shutterstock

How Does Pet Liability Insurance Work?

Insurance companies typically take your dog’s information and complete underwriting to determine your liability insurance premium amount. Factors like your dog’s age, breed, weight, and bite history will affect the price of your premium and your coverage options. For example, dogs with a bite history often have higher premium costs and lower coverage amounts.

Once you enroll your dog in a liability insurance plan, you’ll be expected to be on time with paying your premiums to keep the insurance plan in force. You’ll also have to meet your deductible before the insurance company starts to help pay for incident-related expenses. Deductibles can range between a couple of hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars.



Dog liability insurance can help you save thousands of dollars for any unforeseen accidents caused by your dog. So, it’s best to consider your options and shop for a plan that can help pay for expenses accrued by incidents and damages. You can check to see if any insurance companies that you currently use offer coverage for pet liabilities or purchase a plan from a specialized pet liability insurance company.

Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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