OAnother benefit of owning a Toy breed or
other small dog is that we haven't (yet) been targeted by the insurance industry.
Owners of Akitas, Pit Bulls, Bull Terriers,
German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans and Presa Canarios (the breed from the San Francisco
manslaughter trial) are increasingly being forced to choose between keeping their dog and getting homeowner's insurance.
This is a form of dog racism that, to my
knowledge, is illegal only in Pennsylvania.
The truth is that any dog can bite, especially
if provoked. However, the epidemic of big dog
bites is caused by people buying dogs for
protection and then failing to socialize them.
Unfortunately, it is an epidemic. Since the 1990s,
dog attacks have become the biggest single cause
of home policy claims with claims running to
more than $300 million a year.
As a result, more and more insurance companies
are refusing to offer policies to owners of
certain dog breeds or excluding dog bite
liability from their policies. This also
is true for renter's insurance.
Most homeowners and renters policies provide
$100,000 to $300,000 in coverage for liability
claims. However, anything over the policy limit
is the homeowner's responsibility.
Some insurance companies do not automatically
reject owners of certain breeds but may require
letters from veterinarians, dog obedience
certificates, or a home visit by an insurance
agent. If a dog growls at the agent, it may be
uninsurable or only at a high premium.
If you have a dog, even a Chihuahua, that bites
someone, you probably will find that your dog is
To help dog owners and lobby for legislation
that forbids dog profiling, the American Kennel
Club has established an Insurance Resource Center
at its website. Here's the link:
Insurance Resource Center
The AKC has a matrix showing the restrictions
the major insurance companies place on dog
If your insurance company will not insure you
because of your dog breed, check with
your insurance agent, who may know of another
company that will insure you. Don't be afraid
to try another agent even for the same company.
Some agents let their personal experiences or
beliefs color their actions.
Some states such as Massachusetts offer
insurance through state-run plans to homeowners
who can't get or can't afford commercial policies.
If you're having a problem finding affordable
insurance, contact breed clubs for recommendations
(found at American Kennel Club (AKC) website) or
your state insurance commissioners office. They
can provide you with a list of insurers in your
state and you may need to start down the list.
Steps that will make your insurer and you happy:
1. Train your dog and get the AKC Canine Good
2. Neuter male dogs.
3. Socialize your dog and make sure he gets
plenty of exercise.
4. Restrain your dog on a leash or keep in
a fenced yard when outside. Don't let your dog
run after someone. The instinct to chase prey
is one of the most frequent situations in
which bites occur.
5. Teach your children how to behave around
your dog. NEVER leave a small child and dog
As a last resort, consider buying a separate
liability policy for your dog or a separate
rider to your existing policy. Keep your
checkbook handy if you have to go this route.
Article written by:
Reprinted with permission from the Bone-Mot Newsletter