When (+ Why) You Should Report Your New Pet to Your Insurance Provider

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A puppy with a birthday cap

Picture it: you just bought a new dachshund. You are feeling beyond ecstatic to add another furry friend to your family. You pay for dog food and play toys, and you search for a good dog trainer so your animal will be well behaved and integrated into your household without hassle.

Figuring out how to pay for all the expenses of a first-time pet and being a novice pet owner can be stressful too, and there is a lot that can get lost in the shuffle. Ask other animal lovers about the additional things you may have forgotten about in the excitement, like how getting a pet affects your homeowners insurance claims process.

Homeowners insurance and dogs are a longstanding relationship that most pet owners are aware of, but rarely do they know all of the specifics and consequences of ignoring it.

We’ll cover why you need to always report new pets to your homeowners’ insurance agent, and what happens if you omit the information from your insurance company. We’ll also discuss whether there are any exceptions to this rule.

Why does your insurance provider need to know about pets?

Pets are usually an overwhelmingly positive aspect of any person’s life, but a lack of obedience can lead to home disaster for yourself and your neighbors.

Dogs that aren’t obedience trained can leak on your new carpet. Puppies that are curious can get lost and dig onto the property of somebody down the street, damaging their home and leading to claims against you and your insurance company.

Angry dogs may attack people they don’t know, leading to even more risk and drama. It should be pretty obvious by now why insurance companies want to know about a pet as soon as possible. In many ways, pets present more risks than any other living thing to any insurer, even over people and plant life.

Risk is the key word here. Insurance companies are always looking for clients who present the least amount of risk so they don’t have to pay for claims.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get good insurance policies when you own pets. Most families in America own a cat or a dog, so insurers have to accept that animals are ingrained in our culture. Letting your insurance company know about your pet will prevent any insurance fraud or mistrust down the line.

Are there any exceptions to these pet guidelines?

The simplest way to answer this question is with a simple no. You are most likely always going to face increased rates with a pet, even by the smallest of margins, and there is no reason to try and ignore this fact. Not reporting it and then having a pet-related accident in your home or somebody else’s might present major financial problems for your and your family.

The great news is that most insurance companies know that pets are a part of the equation. They are very forgiving of animal problems if they know about their presence from the get-go.

As always, honesty is the best policy. Now get out there and enjoy your walk at the park with your new pup with some insurance as a backup.

Shawn Laib writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, Clearsurance.com. He enjoys looking at the little things that affect insurance and educating families about their importance.

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