Your dog is your best friend, and a member of your family. But in the eyes of insurance companies, hes also a potential liability. Most people think their dog would never hurt anyone but if he did, you could be held liable. In fact, ABC News reports that U.S. insurance companies paid out $489 million in 2012 on dog-bite claims alone.
What does this mean for you as a dog parent? Unfortunately, it means that your homeowners insurance company is very interested your dog.
Insurance companies keep a list of dog breeds that they believe are likely to be involved in a costly incident. If your dogs breed makes the list, you might have to pay higher premiums on your policy. Depending on the insurance company, you might even be denied coverage altogether.
Top 10 Dangerous Dogs
While many cities and states are repealing dangerous dog laws based on breed (also known as breed-specific legislation) due to a lack of evidence to support them, the insurance industry tends to assess dog breeds by their strength and temperament, which they feel are indicative of potentially high-cost insurance claims.
Here are the top 10 dog breeds most likely to be singled out in homeowners insurance policies:
- Alaskan Malamute
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Pit Bull
- Presa Canario
- Siberian Husky
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
What Should Dog Owners Do?
Since most dog owners know that, as i Love Dogs reports, a dog’s owner, environment and training have been proven to have a greater influence on his behavior than whatever breed he happens to be, the insurance industrys approach to assessing homeowners with dogs can be very frustrating.
Many dogs of the above-listed breeds live their whole lives without biting anyone and many dogs that do bite are of breeds that are not on the list. As such, many pet parents are upset to learn that insurance companies single out their dog simply because of its breed. Paying higher insurance premiums for what seems like an unfounded reason is no fun, either.
So if you own one of these dogs, what should you do? Here’s what the American Kennel Club recommends:
- Contact your dog’s national breed club and ask them to recommend an insurance company.
- Build a wireless dog fence and try to keep your dog inside that zone.
- Show that your dog has completed an obedience training program.
- Shop around talk to more than one insurance agent before you buy.
You might also want to consider an umbrella policy. If an issue arises for which you are found liable, an umbrella policy will provide you with more protection than a regular homeowners policy.
If you’re already the proud owner of one these breeds, remember that premiums can be dramatically different from one company to another. Ask around, and get quotes from several insurance agents to find the policy thats right for you and your dog.
Disclosure: This is a post written by David Levitt on behalf of BuyPetInsurance. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily indicative of the opinions or positions of BuyPetInsurance or i Love Dogs.