Welcoming a dog into your home can be a great way to teach your children about responsibility and enjoy the unconditional love a pet can provide. Most homeowners don't even consider how their choice of pet could influence their insurance policies.
Before you make a deposit on your new puppy, take the time to check your homeowners insurance policy for any restrictions that might apply to you and your family.
Why Insurers Care About Your Dog
Your homeowners insurance policy is designed to offer you financial protection against any lawsuits brought about as a result of injuries sustained on your property. Dogs can be fiercely protective of their families, and your beloved pet could pose a risk to anyone who visits your property.
If you opt to have an aggressive breed, the risk to both you and your insurance company goes up. Statistics show that roughly one-third of the cost of all homeowners liability claims can be attributed to dogs. Insuring properties with a pet can be risky, so insurers want to protect themselves in every way possible.
Dog-Specific Guidelines You Need to Follow
Every insurance company offers different policy products, and the guidelines that you must follow in order to remain in compliance with your existing policy as you select a new dog can vary from one company to the next.
Most insurance agencies maintain a list of restricted dog breeds that pose a high risk (based on statistical data regarding aggression and attacks by breed). Having a restricted breed on your property could be grounds for immediate cancellation of your homeowners insurance policy, or it could compromise your ability to renew your policy when the current term ends.
Contact an insurance agency like Phillip R Davis Insurance to learn more about the restricted breeds banned by your insurance company.
If you have your heart set on owning a breed that is on your insurance company's restricted list, you may be able to work around your insurer's existing guidelines. You can ask if your insurance company is willing to exclude your dog from your coverage. This will mean that any damage or injury caused by the dog will be your sole financial obligation.
You can also apply for a dog training certification like the Canine Good Citizen certificate from the American Kennel Club to prove that although your dog's breed might be characterized as aggressive, he or she has been tested and shown to be well-mannered, obedient, and properly socialized. Dogs who obtain a Canine Good Citizen certificate pose a lower risk to insurance companies, making it more likely your pet will be included in your existing coverage.