Thursday, August 14, 2014

Dog Breeds and Homeowners Insurance

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites are responsible for more than 1/3 of all homeowners insurance liability claims, and the average cost of a dog bite claim is close to $30,000. It make sense that home insurers would look for ways to minimize this risk, but at what cost?
Here in Florida, most insurers exclude Animal Liability coverage in the base policy. Many offer the coverage as an endorsement, usually with a $25,000 limit. If you own a dog, it makes sense to insure your home with a company that offers the Animal Liability endorsement, but depending on the breed of your dog, it may not be that easy.
Most Florida home insurers maintain a ‘bad dog list’, or a list of prohibited breeds. If you own one of these breeds (or a dog who is a mix of any of these breeds), expect to have a tougher time finding coverage for your home at all, much less being able to procure liability for your dog. Fair or not, insurance underwriters base their blacklists on the number and cost of dog bite claims per breed. This is a controversial issue for many reasons, as some people cite the ‘unknown’ bites by several other breeds that are never reported, and others just view the practice as discriminatory, regardless of the data. While there are a few home insurers in FL who have abandoned ‘bad dog lists’ and will insure any breed without a bite history, the majority still prohibit mostly these breeds:
American Pit Bull Terrier
Catahoula Leopard
Doberman Pinscher
German Shepherd
Preso Canario
Staffordshire Terrier
Wolf or Wolf Hybrid
If you own one of these breeds, or another breed on a ‘bad dog list’, we have companies who will insure you. We also carry a stand-alone Animal Liability policy with no breed restrictions. Coverage is available up to $300,000, and may even be possible for dogs with a previous attack history. Call us at 321.259.2228 to discuss your animal liability situation.


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