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Dog Owners: Don’t Get Bitten by a Homeowners Insurance Company

dog owners

Image courtesy of State Farm Insurance

You love your dog, but don’t expect your homeowners’ insurance company to share the feeling. Some insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own certain breeds of dogs categorized as dangerous, such as pit bulls. Others decide on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether an individual dog, regardless of its breed, has been deemed vicious.

The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites cost insurers nearly half a billion dollars a year. The state with the most claims happens to be California. Dogs bite nearly 4.5 million Americans every year, resulting in an estimated 885,000 injuries that require medical attention. Half of those who are bitten are children. Letter carriers are also a frequent target with nearly 5,900 attacks per year. That’s why the industry has some major concerns when it comes to dogs.
The following types of dog are most often considered “bad breeds” by many insurance companies:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman
  • German Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Wolf Hybrid

What do you do about homeowners insurance if you own one of these breeds? Fortunately, you may have more options than you think:

1) Take precautions.
You want to protect yourself from liability, just like your Insurance company. You can avoid dog bites by training and socialization of your canine. Here’s a list of the 10 best trainers in Santa Barbara. Many insurance companies will take these extra precautions into account. The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen program is a good example of the kind of precaution insurers may keep in mind when writing a policy.
2) Shop around.
Not all agents are alike. Look for independent insurance agents and stay away from the smaller insurance companies. Insurers who currently do not discriminate by breed include State Farm, Chubb Group, and Amica. 
3) Contact the insurance commissioner for your state.
Our insurance commissioner in California is Dave Jones. His office can provide you with a list of insurance companies and request a review for anyone being refused a policy.
4) Purchase a separate policy for your dog.
It may be possible to take out a separate policy on your dog, thus protecting you from liability and medical damages. Organizations such as the Federation of Insured Dog Owners were created to provide just such a service to dog owners.

As a dog lover myself, I would be happy to discuss your homeowner’s insurance concerns in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities. I would also be happy to discuss buying or selling your home in any of these amazing areas. Just call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com, and I will do the rest! Bow Wow!

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