Depending on what breed of dog you own, where you live and your insurance company, it could be difficult to buy home insurance that includes liability for your dog.
The Humane Society of the U.S. stated that about 39 percent of American households have at least one dog. With the increased amount of dog-bite litigations, some home insurance companies are refusing to write liability coverage for owners of certain breeds. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), dog-bite claims account for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims, costing insurers about $412 million in 2009. Hospitalizations from dog bites have increased a whopping 88% over the last 16 years!
While there might not be an insurance industry-wide “blacklist” of breeds, here are some of the dogs that are commonly identified as “dangerous breeds”:
- Pit bulls
- Chow chows
- German shepherds
- Siberian huskies
- Alaskan malamutes
- Doberman pinschers
- Presa Canario bulldogs
- Great Danes
Some insurance companies have a list of breeds and crossbreeds that they will not insure, while others will consider such breeds on a case-by-case basis, or charge more for certain “biting” breeds such as pit bulls. Also, there may be a requirement for dog owners to sign liability waivers for dog bites. However, there are a select few insurance companies that will sell you coverage regardless of what type of breed you own, for they feel that there are good and bad dogs within each breed, just like there are responsible and irresponsible dog owners.
In all fairness, it is noted that:
- Any dog, treated harshly or trained to attack, may bite a person. Any dog can be turned into a dangerous dog. The owner or handler most often is responsible for making a dog into something dangerous.
- An irresponsible owner or dog handler might create a situation that places another person in danger by a dog, without the dog itself being dangerous.
- Any individual dog may be a good, loving pet, even though its breed is considered to be potentially dangerous. A responsible owner can win the love and respect of a dog, no matter its breed. One cannot look at an individual dog, recognize its breed, and then state whether or not it is going to attack.
Regardless, it is best to check with your insurance agent before you buy certain breed of dog.
Filed Under: How to Protect Yourself