Dog Owner’s Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Jason Dog for Web

Throughout the nation, many dog owners may sometimes find it a challenge to obtain homeowners insurance.  Although insurance is essential for anyone who is looking to secure their home or condo, many face expensive premium rates, denied service by insurance agencies and second rate insurance policies for owning a dog.

Homeowners insurance protects a person’s physical property against fire, water, theft and other perils. The policy also covers against liability lawsuits against the homeowner stemming from injuries or even claims related to pets.  Due to the increased cost of litigation and pet attack statistics, many insurance companies have refused to provide coverage for homeowners with certain breeds of canine.

Homeowners Insurance and Dogs: What To Know

Below are some statistics regarding the relationship between dog ownership and home ownership:

  • According to the Humane Society, 54.4 million (44%) of Americans own a dog. (Humane society)
  • There are 77.8 million pet dogs that make up an average of 1.63 dogs per household.
  • According to AVMA, 5 million people in the US are bitten by dogs each year.
  • 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog required medical attention.
  • More than 800,000 Americans will receive medical attention for dog bites each year.
  • The average insurance claim for dog bites in 2014 was $32,072. (Insurance Journal)
  • California tops the chart in number of dog bite-related claims each year (1,867 bites) and cost per claims (average claim of $33,694).
  • A number of states are considering outlawing ‘breed profiling.’  However, many insurance companies still deny access to homeowners with particular dog breeds. (Huffington)

Breed Profiling and Discrimination

Throughout the nation, a variety of organizations have expressed their concerns over dog discrimination and profiling. They claim that owning a dog can be a natural deterrent against several perils such as theft, vandalism and property damage.  However, insurance carriers still question a homeowner owning a particular breed of dog and typically charge more premium, require additional documentation or even deny the availability of coverage.  Although profiling a dog based on their breed has been deemed illegal in some states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, insurance companies in other states have completely ‘blacklisted’ homeowners that own particular dog breeds.  These breeds have been considered by insurance companies as ‘uninsurable’ and a potential financial risk due to the chance of medical claims and liability lawsuits from dog bites.

Insurance companies typically do not take the dog owner or dog history into account when writing a policy.  Their underwriting calculations of dog breed insurability are by the average number of bites reported for a breed as well as news reports and stories of the these dog breeds attacking people.  This leads to the conclusion that a breed of dog that is considered ‘safe’ one year could be considered ‘dangerous’ the following year.

Below is a list of breeds that have been considered ‘dangerous’ by a variety of insurance carriers according to Psychology Today:

  1. Pit Bull Terriers
  2. Staffordshire Terriers
  3. Rottweilers
  4. German Shepherds
  5. Presa Canarios
  6. Chows Chows
  7. Doberman Pinschers
  8. Akitas
  9. Wolf-hybrids
  10. Mastiffs
  11. Cane Corsos
  12. Great Danes
  13. Alaskan Malamutes
  14. Siberian Huskies

Finding Homeowners Insurance for Dog Owners

Safeguard your Dog

Insurance carriers are looking to protect themselves from liability as much as the homeowners. Some insurance carriers will take into account certified training for obedience, fence enclosures, and socialization classes.  To find these classes and safeguard programs, visit the American Kennel Club website and look for their Canine Good Citizen Program.  These useful certifications and classes can safeguard against liability and help insurers write a policy to cover both your home and breed of dog.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Broker

Dog owners seeking homeowners insurance are encouraged to shop around a variety of insurance carriers to find the best fit for you and your breed of dog. The J. Morey Company works with many different carriers and can help you find the coverage you need at a competitive premium rate.

Contact Jason Schulz at The J. Morey Company for help in finding insurance for you and your furry friend [Jason’s dog, Oliver, is featured in the photo above!].

To speak to a licensed Broker, call Jason Schulz
Direct (714) 345-4853; Office (714) 562-5910, Ext. 133