Homeowners insurance for dog owners

By Compuquotes Team on March 27th, 2008

Homeowners Insurance

Did you know that approximately 40 per cent of households in the United States own at least one dog? (Humane Society, United States) However, because litigation over dog bites is soaring, some insurance companies are refusing to write a home owners insurance policy for people that own dogs of certain breeds. At this time, there isn't a blacklist of breeds in the insurance industry, however before you purchase any dog, it may be best to check with your insurance agent regarding non-covered dog breeds. The most commonly non-covered breeds include:

Chow Chow
Doberman Pinscher
German Shepherd
Pit bull
Saint Bernard

Some insurance companies have a list of breeds that are not to be covered, while some will consider the breeds on a case by case basis. Some insurance companies simply charge more for certain "biting breeds" of dogs, such as Pit bulls while other insurance companies require the owner and insured to sign a waiver for liability from dog bites. Two states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, have state laws that make it illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage because the insured has a certain breed of dog.

Some forward thinking insurance companies will consider the dogs, even if they have bitten. There is a list of questions that these insurance companies will require to have answered before they will consider insuring a home that contains one of these breeds. Part of that consideration (for dogs that have bitten) are the steps that the owner/insured has made to rectify the issue. For instance, a mother dog that bites in protection of her puppies, once spayed, may never show signs of aggression again. Most home owners insurance companies ask if you own a vicious dog right on their questionnaire. If there are any previous dog bites, they will show up on your claims history, which is checked before an insurance company will issue a home insurance policy.

The best advice is prevention - ensuring that your dog won't bite anyone. It's important that your animal is trained to obey you and your commands from puppyhood and that your pet is sociable with other animals. IT is also important to ensure that your dog has up to date vaccinations (which is often required by many home owners insurance companies that you provide proof of up to date vaccinations). Also, by taking your dog to the vet, you will ensure that your dog is healthy, which also helps alleviate against the potential of dog bites.

The best thing to do is to advise your insurance agent of any dogs that you have living in your home when you apply for home owners insurance. Lying about your animals, or hiding the fact that you own a vicious breed will get you into a lot of trouble if there is a claim that you want to make because your dog has bitten someone. Not only will your home owners insurance policy be cancelled, but you could face liability and legal charges against you for fraud.

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