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April 5th, 2018
Owning dogs is challenging, but owning dogs on the breed exclusion list for homeowners insurance can be extremely burdensome. Dog bites pose risks that often cause insurers to spike premiums and depending on your dog’s breed, ultimately deny coverage altogether.
It may be easier to understand the reasoning behind coverage denial when you consider the numbers; the nationwide average is approximately $35,000 per dog bite claim. In fact, California tops the charts with the highest amount of claims in 2016.
The type of dogs on the exclusion lists vary between carriers, but the top dogs often considered dangerous include Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Doberman, Presa Canario and Chow Chow.
While your dog may be very gentle, you cannot control every situation. For example, your dog may run up to a visitor out of excitement and knock them over, resulting in an injury. If a claim is submitted, your insurance carrier may ask what breed your dog is. If you and your personal lines advisor have not previously discussed your dog’s breed, and your dog is on the exclusion list, your claim may not be covered – leaving you responsible for any medical expenses.
As an owner of a dog on the exclusion list, you may face a few hurdles procuring homeowner’s insurance but you don’t have to relocate and you don’t have to give up your four-legged companion to get coverage.
Many carriers may put a dog exclusion on their policies, which voids coverage if you acquire a dog on the ineligible breed list. Be upfront with your agent from the beginning about the type of dog you own. Be proactive and discuss with your advisor the benefits of enrolling your dog in certified obedience training, The Canine Good Citizen Test and setting up fencing/kennels.
The bottom line is that honesty is key. Your personal lines advisor needs to be aware of what type of dog you own, to assist in finding you the right coverage.
If you are unable to secure your dog on your homeowner’s policy, ask your advisor about other options, such as an Umbrella policy or a separate canine liability policy. The goal for everyone is the same, protection in the event of a claim. The first step is to discuss your pet and your options with your personal lines advisor.
We offer comprehensive policy reviews and specialize in finding the right price, coverage, and service for all your personal needs to ensure that your property, collections, vehicles, and everything else of importance to you, are protected.