We all complacently look the other way when they instituted breed bans on Pitbulls because it wasnt our breed… but guess what, it is! Although Pittbull BSL has been repealed here in Ohio, insurance companies didn’t repeal their position on “dangerous dogs”. A disturbing new trend is starting to arise in the insurance world. As the insurance industry gains more and more power they are turning on their insureds for the sake of a buck. What we need to remember is they do not have their customers’ best interests at heart and are in the business of making money, period.
Dogs have become a very sticky subject with Insurance Carriers for the simple fact that there have been increased dog injury claims within the past 5 years. While most standard homeowners and renters insurance policies cover liability for dog bites, up to the policy limits. Even if you have a dog with no bite history it may be considered to be within one of the aggressive dog breeds the majority of insurance companies will decline to write your home owners policy or cancel you when they find out you have a dog that falls in that category. The following dogs are considered aggressive: Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Presa Canerio, Doberman Pinscher, Chow Chow, Great Dane, St. Bernard, and Akita. The few companies that will write your home owners policy will most likely exclude the dog and offer no coverage for dog injuries to others.
Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky are “strict liability” states (there are 30 total plus the District of Columbia) meaning a dog owner, harborer or keeper liable for an injury to a person or the property of a person, including a person’s dog.
An umbrella policy is an affordable alternative for providing liability coverage that a regular homeowners policy does not cover. It also extends the maximum payable coverage for dog bites up to a million dollars. While shopping for insurance make sure you ask if the carrier you are considering affords:
- Protection for your Saint Bernards?
- Are all canine-inflicted injuries covered?
- What are the umbrella policy’s deductibles?
You many have to make a few calls to the companies themselves because the agent may not know.
I worked as an insurance claims adjuster for many years. I have first hand knowledge of how unscrupulous the insurance industry is and how they handle dogs in the underwriting department. When you get your homeowners policy documentation, READ the fine print!
Insurance providers who do not discriminate by breed
We encourage dog owners to do their homework and look for agents that represent these companies for renters and home owner policies. Know of others? Please share your favorite insurance resources.
- State Farm
- Farmers Insurance
- United Services Automobile Association
- Chubb Group
- Auto-Owners Insurance