Why your insurer is concerned about your pet
You consider your pets as part of the family and you’d do anything to see them happy. However, it seems that your home insurer doesn’t share the same love for them, regardless of how cute they may be. For them, someone who has pets and wants to get an insurance policy may be a big risk.
And no matter how well you say your pets may be trained, there are times when they can become very unpredictable. From your insurer’s point of view, it’s this very lack of predictability that makes an owner who has pets in his home appear as a risk. This means that if there is even the slightest chance that your pet can become a threat to people in your property, then the insurance company is certainly going to consider increasing your premium, require you to get more coverage and in some cases, they may even refuse to offer you their services.
Homeowners insurance and dogs
While it’s very common for a lot of people to own dogs, they are actually some of the riskiest pets to have from the insurer’s point of view. Based on info from the CDC, about four point five million people suffer from dog bites on a yearly basis and about nine hundred thousand of them require medical treatment.
Luckily, the majority of homeowner’s insurance policies do cover dog bites and many other types of incidents. Also, if you have liability insurance, then this is more than enough to ensure that you’re going to avoid being caught off guard when someone is injured in your home. The thing is that when your insurance company becomes aware of the fact that you have a pet, this may eventually lead to a higher premium.
Does breed matter?
Breed does indeed directly influence your insurance policy. The majority of insurance companies are reluctant to covering muscular dogs that can inflict great harm from a single bite with some examples of such dogs including Chow Chows, Dobermans and Pitbulls. As for predicting which dogs are more likely to attack, it seems that the majority of preconceptions we all know and may have about breeds aren’t actually true.
For example, various studies, including one from the Applied Animal Behavior Science journal discovered that larger dogs aren’t necessarily more likely to attack compared to small dogs. Greyhounds and Siberian Huskies scored as very calm canines and even Rottweilers and Pitbulls registered below average or average aggression. However, it seems that even though tiny, the Dachshund did register as the most aggressive breed, followed by Chihuahuas. The distinction is a Rottweiler or Doberman can inflict significantly more damage than, let’s say, a small dog like a Chihuahua.
This means that a liability claim may come from any dog breed and it’s the insurer that determines which breed is the riskiest, not you.
What you can do to prevent dog bites
If you want to avoid added costs to your insurance policy, then you need to stay claims free and prove your insurance company that they have no reason to worry. Make sure to use the following steps (provided by the American Kennel Club) to achieve that:
- Ensure your visitors respect your dog’s space, especially when he drinks, eats or sleeps.
- Don’t leave your children alone with your dog.
- Be prepared to remove your pet from tense situations or when it’s nervous.
- Make sure to limit tug of war games.
- Your dog needs to be trained to drop toys so you don’t have to reach in its mouth.
- Get your dog vaccinated for rabies.
- Your dog should be kept on a leash when it’s in the yard.
- Introduce your dog to other pups and humans.
Exotic pets and your homeowners insurance
There are people who have other animals in their home besides the usual suspects. In fact, in the US alone, there are more than 10 thousand big game cats owned by people, but also about 3 thousand apes. However, since exotic pets are considered wild animals, they won’t be covered by your home insurance.
Therefore, if you own such animals, then you need to get exotic pet insurance. You’ll be able to choose from a wide range of plans that offer very high coverage amounts and can handle anything from zebras to dolphins and lions.
It could be that you have a pet that’s not really exotic, but it’s just an atypical domesticated pet. A domesticated pet has been bred to live alongside people and some examples include pigs and horses. This means that you could include them on our homeowners policy. But keep in mind that just like dogs, they do pose a great liability risk and may be more expensive to insure. In some cases, you may even be unable to insure them.