If you have a pet, then you will likely want your homeowners insurance to provide liability coverage in case that animal bites someone or damages their property. If your plan includes a pet liability coverage then you will likely have this coverage available. However, while specific, this coverage is not all-encompassing. When it comes to rare breeds and exotic pets, even pet liability coverage might not be able to offer you the appropriate coverage. What can you do to still have the benefits you need when you own a pet that is a high liability?
Home Insurance and Pet Liability
To you, your pet might be a friend that you have adopted, rescued or nurtured. Whether this is a large dog or even a more exotic animal (reptiles, big cats, primates) that you have cared for, you know its habits and you will be able to care for it in ways that keep it happy and safe.
However, an animal, however domesticated it might be, is still an animal. Its wild impulses are still there, just below the surface. One wrong move, even an unintentional one, by you or someone else could cause this animal to lash out in a harmful, even deadly manner. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that the animal simply cannot be held responsible for its actions. Instead, it is the homeowner who will have to take responsibility.
Suppose, for example, that you have a pit bull. Most pit bull owners know that they are incredibly loving, loyal and obedient. However, when the dog does react badly to something, then the reaction is often extremely violent. Should the pit bull get scared by a houseguest, for example, then they might bite this person and cause them significant harm. As a result, your guest might sue you because the injury caused them pain & suffering, lost income, high medical bills or even a permanent disability.
If you have pet liability insurance, then ordinarily you might see that it will cover the ramifications of a dog bite. However, what you might also see is a list of excluded breeds. If a pit bull is one of them, then your pet liability insurance is not going to cover this person’s losses although coverage is there. It is also not likely to cover most types of animals besides cats, dogs, and certain birds or small reptiles. All in all, the more exotic the pet, the less likely your pet liability coverage is to provide benefits.
With the help of your insurance agent, you can determine if you have solutions available to help protect your liability with an exotic pet. For example, an umbrella liability policy or separate exotic pet insurance policy might provide the help you need to get coverage in these situations.