You're probably already aware of most of the factors that can affect homeowners insurance quotes, like the location of your home, the condition of the plumbing and wiring, and your own claims history. But did you know that dogs affect homeowners insurance, and some dogs can prevent you from being insured at all?
How Does the Dog Affect Your Homeowners Insurance?
Your homeowner policy covers any damage caused by you or a member of your family, including your furry friend. If the dog bites someone, your insurer may be partly liable for the cost of any claims against you.
Believe it or not, dog bites actually account for around a third of all payments made by insurers on this type of cover. In 2015, insurers paid over $570 million, with an average settlement cost of about $37,000.
Around 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year according to the AVMA, which points out that any dog is capable of biting a human, regardless of breed. However, most insurers base their underwriting decisions only on the breed, with certain types of dog excluded entirely.
10 Dog Breeds Most Often Blacklisted by Home Insurance Companies
Some dogs affect homeowners insurance by driving up premiums, while others are blacklisted entirely. If you have one of the following breeds, you may have to sign an exemption waiver, or you may even not be offered cover:
- Pit bull-type breeds
- German shepherds
- Presa canarios
- Staffordshire terriers
- Any kind of wolf hybrid
Other breeds commonly excluded are cane corsos, Siberian Huskies, Great Danes and Alaskan malamutes. Again, this list is not definitive, and each insurer will take a different stance. It's best to check directly with your homeowners insurance provider to see how it deals with individual breeds.
What You Can Do
Many dog lovers feel that this list is unfair, and that's being reflected in legislation. Pennsylvania and Michigan have stopped insurance companies from making decisions based on breed alone, and other states are set to follow, which means that each premium will depend on the individual dog.
However, for most Americans, dogs affect homeowner insurance according to their breed alone. 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 dachshund. If it does bite someone, you almost certainly won't be covered, plus you may be denied coverage in the future.
2. Talk to your insurer about discounts
Some companies may be willing to work with you to bring premiums down. For example, if you and your dog complete a recognized obedience class, your insurer may agree to cover it.
3. Look at standalone cover
It may be easier to find a separate policy for the dog and exclude it from your homeowner's insurance. 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.
4. Don't let your dog bite anyone
This may sound obvious, and nobody expects their dog to bite, yet there are millions of dog bite 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, always keep it on a leash, ensure it is supervised at all times and invest in obedience training.
Finally, remember to shop around. Get several homeowners insurance quotes and look for an insurer that can accommodate you and your canine companion. After all, your dog is part of your family and deserves the right kind of protection.