How Your Animals Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance

3 Comments

Let me open by saying I am PASSIONATELY AGAINST Breed Specific Legislation. I’m so passionate about it you would NEVER want to get me going on the topic unless you wanted to see a lot of eye rolling and my blood pressure go up.  When/If my city decides to try and pass these laws you can bet your hiney I will be right there fighting it all the way.

However, working in the Property and Casualty Insurance world forces me to go against that belief every day.  I have yet to see an insurance company who does not have a list of dog breeds they find unacceptable to be owned.  Most of the notable i.e popular companies you see advertised on television have a written guideline denying insurance if you own one of the following:

Pit Bulls

Rottweilers

German Shepherd

Huskies (Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that one)

Alaskan Malamutes

Doberman Pinschers (I haven’t even seen one of these in almost 20 years)

Chows

Great Danes (Seriously, I had one, don’t get me started!!!)

St. Bernard (Did someone watch Cujo too many times as a child?)

Akitas

Jindo

Presna Canario

Wolf or Wolf Hybrids

Any “Other” viscious breed or animal with a bite history.

A few companies out there have an Animal Liability Exclusion form you can sign that means your insurance company will not cover you if your animal bites someone.  Hmmm, let’s take a look at my own pets for a minute.

Pip being a jerk

Those are my two dogs.  Pip is on the left and Meg is on the right.  Pip MUST be vicious right?  He’s wearing a spiked collar and making what I call his “ugly face” so he must be a total punk of a dog right?  Pip was being a JERK at that exact moment.  I also IMMEDIATELY corrected him.  However, his big sis was biting his neck AGAIN (hence the spiked collar) and he was fed up!  If my insurance agent saw this photo my dog would be excluded from my policy.  Oh wait…I’M my Insurance Agent and since I know his history I say he’s fine.  🙂

Let’s take another look at Pip (please excuse the darkness, it was a cell phone):

Pip and Nox

Oh look!  Pip and our 7 week-ish old kitten, Nox,  are sharing the bed.  How vicious.  He plays with this kitten every day.  They obviously have chewed up paper under the computer desk as well.  /sigh.  Pip has not hurt him 1 time.

Personally, I feel it would be much wiser for insurance companies to simply ask if a dog has a bite history.  If not, let it go.


 

In addition to household pets causing liability issues, there are other rules and regulations for animals on your property.  You cannot own an animal classified as exotic.  Yes, those happen.  I know someone who was taking photos of a home and found a pen in the back with two MASSIVE reptiles in it.  They were over 5 ft long.  Most insurance companies are not going to accept that type of liability.

Do you have a small hobby farm?  Most companies have limits on the number of horses, cattle, goats, chickens etc. that you have on your property.  The larger animals are limited by policies because they have a tendency to break out of their enclosures and cause auto accidents.  I saw a cow in the median of the interstate last month!  Additionally, if you sell ANY products from those animals, your company will likely not cover you due to the chance of a lawsuit.  Do you raise Bees?  I found ONE company who was OK with a beekeeping hobby.  There ARE Hobby Farm Endorsements you can add to your policy, so if it’s a dream of yours to have one, please check with your agent first.  You should be able to put coverage in place, but with advice and correct coverage!

Please communicate with your agent about your animals.  It is so much more important to find out there is an issue in advance than if you have a claim.  A simple phone call can save a lot of time and hassle!

 

How do you feel about Breed Specific Legislation?  Do you think Insurance Companies should be able to deny coverage based on a breed?

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Author: Jill Stewart

I am a 37 -year-old woman from Arkansas who is happily married to a Scottish immigrant aka “the hubby” “the hubs” or if I am calling him directly “YO YOU!” We’ve been married for 3 years and it’s been a crazy ride, and unfortunately our finances have been beat to death in the last few years. We have two dogs and a cat, no kids. The Blog- What’ll you find: Financial Information as we try to become debt free My attempts at working and trying to maintain a home to the standards I like My adventures in learning how to sew Arts and craft projects Funny tidbits from my life including living with a Scottish person, the dogs, and other oddball things that happen to me. What you won’t find: Much on children. I don’t have kids and I can’t have kids. Recipes- I don’t mind cooking, but unless it’s something really special, don’t come here looking for the weekly recipe! You won’t find it- unless you ask my husband. If you’re interested in what you see, please follow me on Facebook or sign up for emails! Most of all, leave a comment or ask a question! I am always happy to hear from you!

3 thoughts on “How Your Animals Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance

  1. I hate that insurance companies play this breed game. I kind of understand it but come on!?!? It has so much to do with the owner and these poor dogs get labeled and blamed. Every dog is a risk because they are an ANIMAL but if they are trained correctly and cared for they are not typically vicious unless threatened. My dad was a police dog trainer in the army so I grew up with every type of dog you can imagine and we never had problems unless someone threatened us. And we have had a pit bull that was more babyish and needy then my 1 year old son. Absolutely not should insurance company’s restrict policies because of a dog breed… If you couldn’t already tell I was leaning that way. 🙂

    • Unfortunately, it’s not just Insurance Companies either. There are several cities here who have banned certain breeds completely. People who had family pets had to get rid of them. It’s sad, and it’s annoying that because a dog is BIG you run the risk for getting sued more than by a little dog. I was a dog groomer…ask me what dogs bite on a regular basis. I’ll tell you and not a dang one of them is on that list!

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