You might have heard that insurance companies will deny coverage for homeowners who have “dangerous” dogs – dog breeds that are on the insurance doggie blacklist. That can leave people in the dilemma of choosing their pet or their home insurance, which is a position that no one wants to be in. Your four-legged pal is a member of your family! We’ll tell you what you need to know about why insurance and dogs don’t always get along and what it means for you.
What breeds are considered “dangerous”?
Insurance companies usually come up with their own lists of breeds that they consider to be dangerous. That could be based on their past dealings with claims or with popular perceptions of breeds. You’ll have to check with your insurance company to see which specific breeds they classify as dangerous, but the most common ones are…
- German Shepherds
- Huskies (Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies)
- Wolf hybrids
- Chow Chows
- St. Bernards
- Great Danes
- American Staffordshire Terriers
- Perro de Presa Canarios
The top four on the list are the most commonly denied, but it’s not just the insurance companies that have deemed some dogs dangerous. Certain communities won’t allow dangerous breeds. Keep in mind that if your dog has bitten someone, it will most likely be considered dangerous regardless of its breed.
Why do the insurance companies not like dogs?
It’s not that insurance companies don’t like dogs, and you may never have had any problems with your pet. It’s not personal against your four-legged friend, or against you. It’s the fact that dogs with tendencies of aggressive behavior are a major risk – they could bite and seriously hurt someone. According to the CDC, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Many of those bites require medical attention. Bites could mean lawsuits, which insurance companies don’t love.
What happens if I have a dog on the dangerous dog list?
If you have a dangerous dog, you might have a hard time finding home insurance, and if you do it might be more expensive than if you didn’t have the dog. You also may have to consider additional liability insurance.
Of course, it all depends on your insurance company. If you’re shopping around for insurance, be sure to ask about your dog and what that means for your home insurance. Keep in mind that if you don’t tell the insurance company about your pet when you’re applying for insurance or if you get a canine friend without informing your current insurance company, they could deny future claims.
What if I really want to get one of the “dangerous” breeds?
You might be a dog lover and experienced trainer who can handle one of the above breeds. You need to do your research by calling your insurance company and telling them what kind of canine you’re planning on bringing into your home. You need to ask about any consequences of adopting your new best friend. If they say that they won’t cover you anymore if you get the dog, you’ll need to research how expensive it will be to insure your home and canine elsewhere. The cost may be significantly higher.
Reduce your risk by being a responsible dog owner.
Regardless of your pet’s breed, it’s important to be a responsible doggie parent. You need to reduce the risk of aggressive behavior, even if your buddy has never been mean in his or her life. There are a few things you can do to lower your risk.
1. Use a leash and have tags on the collar.
When you’re walking your dog, use a leash that’s strong enough for your dog. Make sure that you’re always focused on your pup and their behavior. Also, put tags on the dog’s collar – you can even consider microchipping them.
2. Have a fence for your yard.
The fence has to be tall enough to keep your dog in. It should be six to eight feet depending on how big your pooch is. Make sure that the fence is in good repair and that there aren’t any ways for your dog to stage a great escape – i.e. holes in the fence or ways they can burrow under.
3. Socialize puppies properly.
Make sure that your puppy gets familiar with both people and other dogs. Take them to puppy obedience school to ensure that they’re trained properly – the point of the classes is to train the owner, too!
4. Spay or neuter your dog.
Getting your pet fixed can curb their territorial and aggressive instincts. Plus, it’s just being responsible.
5. Train your dog not to nip, bite, or chew on hands or furniture.
If your dog starts growling or chewing, distract them by clapping your hands. Present them with a toy that’s appropriate for them to play with and chew on. You need to redirect their attention. Praise your dog’s good behavior and don’t reward bad behavior.
6. Give your dog lots of positive attention
Show your canine friend love and kindness while also being a leader for them.
7. Contact your vet if your dog seems off.
If your dog seems anti-social or unusually aggressive, talk to your vet. They can refer you to behavior specialists that can help you work through the problem. Take extra care when taking your dog out.
If you have a “dangerous” dog breed, you might have a harder time finding insurance. You might face higher premiums. It’s not that insurance companies have anything against dogs or pets. It’s just that they see certain breeds as coming with more risk than others. That’s why the “dangerous dog” list exists.
Need a quote for your home or renters insurance? We’d love to help you out with that. All you have to do to get your free quote is fill out our quote form or give us a call today. We’d be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs and answer any questions you might have.