Your Furry Friend and Home Insurance: Can They Go Hand in Hand?

Back To Articles Your canine is more than a pet, it’s family, and deserves the same protection as the rest of the family!
Your canine is more than a pet, it’s family, and deserves the same protection as the rest of the family!

When dog owners go to secure homeowners insurance, some are surprised to learn that they cannot access coverage because their pet is deemed too risky to insure.

If you own a “risky” breed, understanding your insurance provider is key to obtaining the perfect insurance for your perfect pet.

Believe it or not, dog bites have an average settlement cost of $37,000, and 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Insurance providers deem certain breeds risky based on the frequency and severity of their bites. This data is general, which means your furry friend may not fit the statistic but is guilty by association. Frequency refers to how often bites occur from a specific breed of dog and severity denotes how serious the injuries stemming from a breed’s bite were.

Based on these factors, some of the dog breeds considered most risky include:

  • Akita
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Wolf breeds

Not all providers are the same and likely carry their own list of breeds that they might consider high risk or will not cover. These breeds may drive up premiums, while others are blacklisted entirely. Many dog lovers feel this list is unfair, and that’s certainly being reflected in legislation which means that we are slowly heading towards a premium depending on the individual dog. However, we’re not there yet.

Here are a few things you can do to deal with such a scenario.

  1. Tell the truth about your dog. Don’t tell your insurance company that your Doberman is a Golden Retriever. If your pet does bite someone, your insurance company likely won’t entertain the idea of covering a penny of that claim.
  2. Talk to your insurer about discounts. Some companies may be willing to work with you to bring premiums down, in the event your fur-child falls into a category they normally don’t cover. If your premium goes up due to your family pet, you may be able to subsidize it in other ways.
  3. Talk about your dog’s training with your insurer. If you and your dog complete a recognized obedience class, your insurer may agree to cover your pup, too.
  4. Look at standalone coverage. It may be easier to find a separate policy for your dog and exclude it from your homeowner's insurance altogether. Under no circumstances should you go without insurance for your dog, unless you are prepared to pay for any claims out of your own pocket.
  5. Don’t let your dog bite anyone. This may sound obvious, and nobody expects their dog to bite, yet there is proof that they do and contribute to millions of incidents each year. Remember that any dog can cause a severe bite, regardless of breed, and a claim against your insurance will drive up future premiums. Socialize your dog at an early age, if possible, and keep your pup leashed and supervised at all times.

The best piece of advice Preferred Mutual can provide to you is to talk with your agent about your concerns, especially if you are interested in a certain breed from the list above, or you already own one and are shopping around for new insurance. Your canine is more than a pet, it’s family, and deserves the same protection as the rest of the family!

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