Many people shopping for homeowners insurance are surprised to hear that man’s best friend can affect their homeowners insurance eligibility. If you are a current or future dog owner, get the low down on how this affects your home insurance so you can be an informed insurance consumer.
There is a lot of controversy out there about the policies adopted by many insurance carriers regarding dog breeds. For example, many insurance carriers will not insure a homeowner who has a dog that is deemed to be a “dangerous breed”.
What is a dangerous breed you ask?
Insurance companies use research based on reports of dog bite history to create a list of dog breeds that they deem to be dangerous. This list typically contains breeds such as Pit Bull, Rotweiller and Doberman. Since your homeowners insurance policy typically protects you in the event of a lawsuit, insurance carriers often will not insure a homeowner who has a dangerous breed as they consider them to be at an increased risk for liability claims. Many dog owners, however, dispute that these breeds are dangerous at all and are surprised to hear that they may be denied home insurance coverage by a company who won’t insure those breeds. When it comes down it, insurance companies are not claiming that EVERY Pit Bull (or Rotweiller, Doberman) is a dangerous dog- just that history shows that the breed is at an increased risk of causing a bite injury.
Some insurance companies will allow owners of dangerous breeds to obtain coverage as long as they exclude their pet from their policy. This means that in the event that the insured’s dog bites someone, any resulting lawsuit would have to be paid out of pocket and would not be covered by their homeowners insurance policy.
Aside from dangerous breeds, dogs that have a bite history can also cause issues for their owners who are trying to obtain homeowners insurance. For example, if a homeowner owns a Golden Retriever (often considered one of the least-vicious breeds) that happens to have a history of biting people, they would many times be denied home insurance coverage by some insurance companies. Again, if the company allowed “dog exclusions” the insured may be able to still obtain coverage but wouldn’t be covered for any lawsuit resulting from injuries caused by the dog.
The good news for many owners of dogs sometimes deemed a “dangerous breed” is that there are still insurance companies out there that will provide them with coverage. Your best bet is to contact a homeowners insurance agent that can shop multiple home insurance quotes simultaneously and tell them about the dog up front.