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Canine Concerns:  Proper Insurance Coverage

Canine Concerns: Proper Insurance Coverage

July 01, 2023

If you are a dog owner, your pet may be your loyal friend and constant companion. However, if you are a homeowner, you should be aware that your dog could cause a few issues with your insurance coverage. Sometimes your dog’s breedcan affect the approval or renewal of your homeowners insurance

According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.7 million people suffer dog bites each year. The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that dog-related injuries cost the industry $881 million in 2021 alone. As a result, coverage may be denied to those homeowners who own high-risk breeds, or high premiums may be involved in securing coverage. 

Case by Case

Sometimes, dogs are considered according to case history and temperament, but additional concern may exist with breeds that have caused the most fatalities over the past 20 years. Those dogs, in descending order, include the following: Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Mixed-breed, American Bulldog, Mastiff/Bullmastiff, Husky, Labrador Retriever, Boxer, and Doberman Pinscher. Although the insurance industry does not have a nationwide list of “unacceptable” dogs, there may be varying degrees of tolerance for each breed. However, some state laws do prevent consideration of specific breeds altogether.

If your dog’s breed raises concern, you may be asked to provide further information, such as whether the dog has undergone attack training or has bitten someone in the past. If your dog does have a history of biting, you may need to explain what the circumstances were, whether the dog was provoked, and if preventative measures have been taken to avoid further occurrences. For unprovoked attacks, you may be denied coverage or renewal, or you may need to add a disclaimer for the dog to your policy. 

The CDC offers the following tips for dog owners and those who come in contact with dogs:

  • When choosing a dog, be selective. Make sure the breed’s temperament suits your lifestyle and living situation.
  • Reduce aggressive behavior by spaying or neutering.
  • Supervise children in your dog’s presence and teach children animal safety tips.
  • A dog with a history of aggressive behavior may not be appropriate for a family. Furthermore, don’t encourage your dog to be aggressive with games such as tug-of-war.
  • Beware of stray dogs or those who behave strangely. Leave unfamiliar dogs alone.
  • If a dog attacks you, try not to run or scream. If you are on the ground, protect your head and neck.
  • A dog that is sleeping, eating, or with puppies should be left alone.
  • If you suffer a dog bite, report it to your dog officer or animal control officer at once.

If you are a dog owner whose dog is responsible for biting, it may be in your best interest to help the victim and report the incident. Notify your insurance company and cooperate with any ensuing investigation. 

Finally, teach your dog proper behavior starting when it is a puppy. By creating an atmosphere of trust and socialization, your dog is likely to become well adjusted to its environment. This can help decrease the likelihood of your dog lashing out in fear or anger. Teaching your loyal companion and best friend appropriate behavior is just one way to potentially prevent issues. It may also help with the approval and renewal of your homeowners insurance policy.


Important Disclosures

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

This article was prepared by Liberty Publishing, Inc.

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