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:
Huskies (Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that one)
Doberman Pinschers (I haven’t even seen one of these in almost 20 years)
Great Danes (Seriously, I had one, don’t get me started!!!)
St. Bernard (Did someone watch Cujo too many times as a child?)
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.
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):
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?