Man’s best friend is your insurance company’s biggest expense, which means rate increases to all of us.
A dog bite occurs every 6 seconds in America and in 2012 over one third of the money paid out in homeowners claims were paid out due to dog bites.
While the number of dog bite claims has stayed flat over the last few years, the cost of claims have gone in one direction….up! A total of $498.7 million in claims dollars were paid out to defend and compensate those injured from dog bites.
In most courts having a dog is called “assumptive liability”. Simply put, you are allowed to have a dog but know that if it causes harm to someone or something, you as the owner of the dog are 100% responsible no questions asked. And for this reason, insurance companies refuse to insure certain dogs known to bite.
For homeowners and renters, this is not a good thing. The insurance company may deny you from getting homeowners’ or renters’ insurance because of your dog. This means you’ll have to go find a carrier that will cover your dog — and that could cost more.
Also, since you get a discount for having your homeowners and auto insurance with the same company, this could mean you now need to change auto insurers as well.
Other insurance companies may still give you coverage but will charge you a higher amount for it.
What types of dog breeds are considered the biggest risk?
Here is a list of dog breeds that most companies will not insure:
Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
The first six dog breeds listed above are the most denied by insurance companies. All companies are different, some may deny some breeds listed above while they may insure other breeds. Be sure to let your agent know.
But my dog is a good dog!
If you own one of the dog breeds listed above, I know what your thinking right now . You have one of the breeds listed above and they are a good dog who you consider a baby and would not hurt anyone.
I know I know, but insurance companies keep stats on dog bites and these breeds are who not only are the most likely to bite, but also cause the most harm. So your dog may be a baby most of the time, but when they do bite it usually does major damage, therefore a bigger claim is paid.
What if I don’t tell the insurance company about my dog?
Some people try to hide the fact they have a certain dog breed, but this is risky. If something does happen with your dog in your home and you didn’t tell the agent or company, the insurance company may deny your claim. That could cost you thousands of dollars out of your pocket. It will also cause you to be canceled and you may not be able to get insurance in the standard market.
In summary, I am not saying that you shouldn’t get a German Shepard — heck, the one pictured above is mine, his name is Nova — or another kind of “risky” dog, but you should call your insurance agent or your insurance company to find out whether they cover the breed, and if not, what it will cost to get a homeowners or renters with a company that does.
I am the Co-Owner of The Insurance Alliance. I love to speak nationally on the topic of insurance and I am the author of "Customer Service is Just Foreplay" an Amazon Best Seller. I don't sell insurance, I help people buy it.