Tag: Insurance

Why Does Homeowners Insurance Exclude Certain Dog Breeds?

If you’re a dog lover, you probably look at your dog and think warm fuzzy thoughts. Your insurance company, on the other hand, probably sees danger signs.

This is especially true if the dog’s breed happens to be prohibited under homeowners insurance policies. Known by insurance companies as “excluded dog breeds,” “aggressive dog list,” “dangerous dogs list” or simply “bad dog list,” this collection of prohibited dogs consists of breeds that are widely considered to be a financial risk to insurers.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, claims related to injuries from dogs account for one-third of all homeowner liability dollars insurance companies pay out every year. In 2016, that figure was $602 million from more than 18,000 claims—an average of $33,000 per claim. That’s a lot of money.

This makes insurance companies wary of dogs that traditionally display a propensity for aggression, so homeowners whose dogs fall into that category will pay higher premiums. In some cases, depending on the homeowner’s location and the insurance company, it may even be impossible to obtain coverage.

The specific dog breeds prohibited by insurers vary from company to company, but at least five appear on every list. Note that not only pure-bred dogs are banned, but any mixed breeds as well:

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman
  • Presa Canario
  • Chow Chow

Statistics show these are some of the most aggressive dogs around and have been the cause of many reported attacks—some of which are fatal. According to the Centre for Disease Control, dog attacks resulted in 279 human deaths in the U.S. over a 20-year period, and Pit Bulls and Rottweilers alone accounted for more than half of those deaths. In a separate long-term study that analyzed 658 documented deaths resulting from dog attacks, 53.5% were attributable to Pit Bulls.

Owners of these types of dogs may feel discriminated against. After all, every individual dog differs by not only personality but also, importantly, upbringing. Isn’t it unfair to ban an entire breed because of the bad behavior of a few?

One alternative could be to deny coverage or impose higher premiums based on the risk associated with a specific dog, rather than its breed. This would require insurance companies to assess a dog’s history of behavior, training and other personal criteria to determine if they are dangerous.

But this approach does not seem very tenable from an insurance perspective. Many dogs do not exhibit aggressive behavior until the day they attack, at which point it’s too late for the insurance company to refuse to pay out. In the absence of a more reliable method of predicting aggression, it appears that breed profiling is the only feasible option.

The insurance industry is in the business of evaluating risk, and all the facts about these five types of dogs suggest they pose a higher risk.

 

Written by: Frank Medina June 12, 2017

Frank Medina is owner of Frank Medina Insurance, which specializes in auto and homeowners insurance. 

Things to Know When Buying a New Vehicle

What do I need to consider when deciding which vehicle to buy?

Different vehicles cost more to insure; some of these things that go into insurance cost include vehicle performance, cost of vehicle, cost to repair, and theft potential. The color, although many believe otherwise, does not have an effect on your insurance premiums. To research different vehicles you can visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.

Do I need to contact my insurance agent before or after I purchase the vehicle?

If you currently do not have a vehicle insurance policy, then you will need to have that arranged before you can leave the lot with the vehicle. If you currently have a policy, you usually need to follow up with your agent within 10 days of the new purchase.

What information do I need to have before contacting my agent?

The vehicle’s year, make, model, VIN number, lienholder information (if there is a loan), the primary driver, and how you will be using the vehicle (an estimate of how many miles each day).

Are rates more important than coverage?

You want to keep the rates as cheap as possible, but you also need to consider the coverage that comes with those rates. You don’t want to have to pay more out of pocket just because your insurance doesn’t cover you if you are in an accident. Here are some trends in state regulation and insurance rates.

Are there any insurance discounts available?

Yes, the most common discount is the multi car discount that many insurance companies will give you for having more than one vehicle on the same policy. There can also be discounts available for being a long term customer, or having multiple policies with the same company.