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Is Your Dog Keeping You From The Best Home Insurance Rate?

Author : Lincoln Stevens

Submitted : 2010-05-14 17:45:19    Word Count : 601    Popularity:   9

Tags:   home insurance, dogs, liability

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I love dogs. Dogs truly can be a man's best friend. For the most part dogs are obedient, always happy to see you, and are ecstatic even if you give them just a little bit of your time. Despite their loving demeanor towards you, however, your dogs may be keeping you from getting the best home insurance rate, and may be a bigger liability to you than you think.

Many home insurance companies will not insure your home if you own a certain type of dog they deem dangerous and unpredictable. Before we get into the list of "nono" dogs, let's understand why this is so. If you've done your homework on home insurance policies, then you know that each policy comes with 6 standard sections of coverage; Dwelling, Other Structures, Personal Property, Loss of Use, Liability, and Medical Payments. All of these sections of coverage really have no relevance to whether or not you have a dog, except one; liability.

Under a traditional homeowner's insurance policy, your liability protection (which is usually around $300,000) will cover most situations where you may be liable to pay for damages caused to others. This liability protection typically includes dog bite liability. If your dog gets out of the backyard and bites someone, your insurance company will be held financially liable (up to the limit) for the damages incurred by your dog's behavior.

Dog bite claims cost insurance companies millions of dollars each year. It is estimated that roughly 4.7 million injuries occur each year in the United States from dog bites. Of that 4.7 million, about 800,000 people typically require medical treatment. Each year, insurance companies shell out more than $250 million in liability claims. That's no small number.

If an insurance company can limit their liability in dog situations, it typically will. Many insurance companies now won't even insure you if have a high risk dog. Others will insure you, but will require you to sign a form that specifically excludes the insurance company's obligation to cover a dog liability claim.

So if you own and love your Pit Bull does that mean you can no longer get good home insurance? No. There are still many insurance companies who are ready and willing to insure you regardless what type of dog you have. Many will still even cover dog liability. The only way that your dog may limit you from finding the best insurance rate is by limiting the number of insurance companies you can choose from.

So what types of dogs are the "bad dogs" anyway? Well, the list varies depending on what company you are talking to, but the list of high risk dogs typically includes: Pit Bull, Doberman, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Chow, Kita, and any wolf hybrid. These are the normal dogs that may not be accepted by an insurance company.

Unfortunately there is no real rhyme or reason to understanding what insurance company will accept what type of dog. Some will accept German Shepherds but deny Pit Bulls. Others insist that the Chow is one of the most high risk dogs. If you are home insurance shopping and have a potential high risk dog, my recommendation is be upfront with any and all agents you speak with about what type of dog you own. If you let each company know right away what you are dealing with, you'll save a lot of time and headache later on down the road.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Author's Resource Box

Lincoln Stevens is Marketing Director of Insurance Education Group, an education-based site designed to help you better understand your insurance coverage and shop for better rates. Do you have questions about insurance? Take a few minutes to browse our site to learn, shop insurance rates, and save.

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