So you know that where you live and the age of your home may affect your home insurance premium. But did you know that your family pooch might also help raise the cost of your homeowners insurance? Here’s some information about how man’s best friend can sometimes be a home insurance agent’s worst nightmare and how to prevent associated claims.
Most homeowners are already aware that since their home insurance policy offers liability coverage there are certain dog breeds and dog related claims than can cause your insurance premiums to go up. The list of “dangerous breeds” varies from one company to the next but most of them almost always include:
- Pit bulls
- German Shepherds
- Chow Chows
Other breeds considered dangerous by your insurance company may include American Staffordshire Terriers, Stafford Bull Terriers, Akitas, Great Danes and Bull Mastiffs. Many advocates of the breeds listed above defend the notion that an entire breed should not be considered “dangerous” simply because certain dogs of that breed are more prone to inflicting injuries. Insurance companies, however, use data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which shows that these breeds are more likely to cause injuries and death than other breeds.
The truth is, any dog breed can cause an injury. So even if you have a Golden Retriever (which is a breed commonly known for non-aggressive behavior) that causes an insurance claim on your homeowners policy- expect to see some changes on your homeowners insurance.
Insurance companies will typically choose to either not insure a homeowner who owns a “dangerous” dog or to offer them higher than normal premiums. This is because they consider that homeowner to be more likely to file a liability claim than a non-dog owner or an owner of a non-aggressive dog.
The truth is, even a well behaved, non-agressive dog can display aggressive behavior out of the blue. So you should know how to prevent dog claims on your property in order to keep your insurance premiums down.
Here are a few tips:
Socialize your pooch: This applies especially to dogs who might be skittish or aggressive towards new people or other animals. Try taking your dog to a dog park or dog training class where there are other dogs around so that they get comfortable socializing with new animals and new people. Keep your dog leashed until you can be sure they are comfortable with new faces around them. This can help your dog when it comes to new people or animals entering your property.
Post a Sign: Keep a sign on your property or fence that lets visitors know that there is a dog on the premises. This may help deter neighbors or neighborhood children from entering a fenced-in area without knocking or making sure you are home and the dog is comfortable with them entering.
Fenced Off: This may seem obvious to most but some new dog owners may not realize the importance of having a fenced in area for their dog. This not only keeps your dog safe but can also prevent the pooch from roaming the neighborhood or chasing the neighbor’s child who is riding their bike down the street. Get a fence that your dog cannot dig under or squeeze through to make sure they are properly secured.
Spay/Neuter: Dogs that are spayed and neutered are often much less likely to roam. If your dog has not yet been spayed or neutered you should talk to your vet about this option.
For more information about dog-related liability claims visit: Lawsuits Can Take a Bite Out of Your Wallet; Be a Responsible Dog Owner by the Insurance Information Institute or How can I reduce the risks of dog bites on my property? by HomeInsurance.com.