Are the Insurance Companies Rating Your Best Friend

Your dog, often referred to as man’s best friend, enjoys the benefits of living in your home outside the norm of providing food, shelter, a place to play and a comfortable place to live. As a result, you expect your dog to give you companionship and even protection. Even small dogs provide protection through their barking at intruders and strangers.

I don’t doubt that if you own a dog you love them and treat them very well. More often than not we think of our dogs as extensions of our family. However, with this responsibility also comes cost. Regular medical and dental visits, which are rather expensive, are required at least once a year. Then there is dog food, toys, license fees and grooming costs to add. One area of cost that you might not have anticipated is a more expensive homeowner’s insurance policy.

Almost five million dog bites happen each year and children are the major victims.

Peter Robertson, who represents the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, stated, “One-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claims dollars paid out in 2012 were attributed to Dog bites, which total more than $489 million.” Mr. Robertson was testifying at the hearing of the Committee on Financial Services. He also stated, “Total costs of dog bite claims increased to over fifty-one percent between 2003 to 2012.” It is thought that bites from dogs cause homeowner insurance losses per year of over one billion dollars.

As a reflection of the increase in payouts for dog bites, many insurance underwriters are denying and maybe even cancelling coverage of homeowner’s liability insurance based on the breed of the dog. Some of these targeted breeds are Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, Akitas, German Shepards and even Malamutes. Insurance companies are using the possible aggressive nature of these breeds when combined with certain training or lack of it, coupled with neglect or abuse to refuse to provide you, the homeowner, with liability coverage.

If you don’t own a dog and are considering adding one to your family. A quick phone call to your insurance representative to get their guidelines as they refer to dogs would be a good idea. As if owning a particular breed will raise your premiums or deny you coverage for any incidents.

Homeowners with Fairfax homes for sale would take this into consideration living in areas with denser population. The last thing you want is to be bitten by or have your dog bite anyone for any reason.