Dog ownership has many wonderful benefits. Even dogs that are considered to be high-risk bring happiness and joy to their owners. However, owning a dog that insurance companies consider to be high-risk can create problems when you try to purchase affordable homeowners insurance. Insurance companies often refuse coverage to homeowners who have dogs that are breeds that are traditionally thought of to be more dangerous or aggressive. However, owners of these dogs are not without hope. You don’t need to sacrifice having decent homeowner’s insurance for the sake of a beloved pet.
Why are insurance companies often reluctant to insure high-risk dog households?
Millions of people every year are bitten by dogs and the claims resulting from these bites cost insurance companies a lot of money. Research conducted by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) indicates that insurance companies pay out $250,000, 000 in dog bite claims annually, with an average claim cost of approximately $12,000 each. Refusing to insure a home with a dog that is considered to be high-risk is one way insurance companies try to eliminate their risk and reduce that cost.
How a dog bite affects homeowner’s insurance costs
Dog bites are common occurrences. Even though all dog bites do not result in a fatality, all dog bites need to be treated seriously. Dog bite claims keep insurance companies busy, as they account for more than one-third of all homeowner’s claims. Since insurance companies are required to pay out a significant amount of money due to dog bites, they enact strict regulations as a means of controlling their costs. One way insurance companies protect themselves is by putting restrictions of specific breeds of dog, referring to them as “aggressive”. Some high risk homeowner insurance companies are willing to offer insurance for a home, regardless of the breed of dog that resides there. However, there is generally a higher premium cost associated with owning a breed that is considered to be aggressive.
Are breed-specific policies a bad idea?
Some insurance companies offer breed-specific policies at a higher rate than traditional policies. It is not necessarily a wise idea to purchase a policy such as this, though. The MSPCA offers the following reasons why these policies are not all they are cracked up to be:
- These policies discriminate against dog owners who properly train their high-risk dogs.
- These policies focus on the behaviors of the animals rather than those of the homeowner.
- These policies make potential dog adopters unwilling to adopt certain breeds.
- These policies do not take into consideration mixed-breed dogs.
- Dog bite statistics may be skewed due to the popularity of some breeds, making it appear that some breeds bite more often.
Tips to getting good homeowner’s coverage with a high-risk dog
Owning a high-risk dog does not mean that it is impossible to find a good insurance policy. But, some legwork and a little bit of knowledge can go a long way to finding a good policy. Here are some tips on how to find a high-risk homeowners insurance that does not ignore your four-legged friend:
- Check the policy you already have
- Your current policy might be sufficient. Before you shop for a new policy, see what the parameters of your current policy are. If there are breed exclusions, it does not cover dog bites on the property, or does not have a personal liability limit of at least $100,000; it is time to shop for a new policy.
- Comparison shop
- Do some research to find a policy that perfectly fits your needs. Ask friends and family who have high-risk pets for advice and suggestions on good coverage.
- Train and socialize your pet
- Teach your dog basic obedience skills. The American Kennel Club (AKC) offers a training program that is recognized by many insurance companies. Successfully completing this program can result in lower premium costs. Also, socialize your pet so it knows how to act appropriately with other animals and humans.
- Spay or neuter your pet
- The simple act of spaying or neutering your pet can reduce the likelihood of a biting incident. Insurance companies will look favorably on dogs that have had these simple procedures done.
- Get an umbrella policy
- Having the extra coverage of an umbrella policy can provide you with the peace of mind that you are protected beyond your general homeowner’s policy.
Going uninsured is never a good option. If you own a high-risk dog and need affordable homeowners insurance coverage opens in a new window, Marine Agency can help you. We have been in the business of insuring people for almost a full century. We specialize in offering insurance that is difficult to obtain and can provide you with sufficient homeowner’s coverage, regardless of the breed of dog you own.
If you need homeowner’s insurance and own an aggressive or high-risk dog breed, don’t fret; contact Marine Agency today. We can help you.