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June 5, 2019
With nearly 90 million dogs in U.S. homes, insurers understand that dogs are a routine liability exposure. Some companies do not consider pet ownership in their homeowner’s underwriting process, but others will. If an insurer has concerns about a particular breed, they may request information about the dog’s training and socialization, and any history of behavior problems or biting. They may also want to know about preventive measures that you have taken, such as obedience classes or fence installation.
A few carriers will decline homeowner coverage when a dog is on their “dangerous breed” list. Akitas, Pit Bulls, Alaskan Malamutes, Chow Chows, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Huskies, and Rottweilers are the most common breeds on insurers’ blacklists.
If you have rental properties, the underwriter may ask about your tenants’ pets and any pet limitations in your rental agreements. As a property owner you could be held legally liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog on premises that you own.
Unless specifically excluded by an endorsement, your homeowner’s insurance will respond for liability claims resulting from a dog bite or attack, but your best protection is prevention. Once you have a dog-bite claim, it will be more difficult to obtain homeowner coverage with dogs in the home.
There are a number of simple steps you can take to lessen the chances that your dog will bite or attack:
When you take steps to socialize your dog and prevent aggressive behavior, your efforts will result in good outcomes all around. Your dog will enjoy her life more fully, your family and community will be safer, and your insurability will be uncompromised.
The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Parker, Smith & Feek. While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it.