Best of Breed: Being Truthful with Your Insurance Agent About Dogs in the Home

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Best of Breed: Being Truthful with Your Insurance Agent About Dogs in the Home on avanteinsurance.com

Failing to inform your insurance company about any dogs you own could lead to serious consequences

Fourty-four percent of the nearly 120 million households in the United States own a dog— but many of them never tell their insurance company. While it’s tempting to keep your furry best friend a secret from your insurance company in hopes of achieving a lower rate, doing so could leave you liable to lawsuits if a serious accident– like your dog biting a stranger in public, were ever to occur.

In addition, dogs, especially larger breeds, can cause significant damage to homes and backyards, destroying expensive plants, wrecking household furniture, and ruining both wood floors and carpets. If you haven’t told your insurance company about the dog in your home, you’ll be forced to foot the entire bill yourself for any damages your pet might cause. While many dog owners believe that that their pet would never harm a fly, many serious dog bite incidents involved a dog who was a “first-time biter,” i.e. had never seriously bitten another stranger or the owner before the incident occurred.

Dog bites are more serious– and more common than you might think

Each year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. That’s nearly one bite per every ten American households with a dog. Considering the average dog lives around 10 years or more, if you have a dog, there’s a very good chance that he or she might bite someone unexpectedly at some point throughout their life. It could be you, at home or in your backyard, it could be a close family member— or it could be a stranger who decides to sue for serious damages.
While it might not seem like a likely scenario, thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dog-bite lawsuits are filed each year around the country– and though a dog bite lawsuit might seem funny from a distance, it’s not entertaining in the least if you’re forced to pay out $100,000 or more due to a dog bite incident involving your pet.

Paying for your insurance policy to cover your pet can protect you from financial disaster

Since around 95% of U.S. homeowners have insurance, there’s likely at least several million homeowners who have never told their insurance company about their dog. By failing to do so, they’re missing out on a vital opportunity to protect themselves from financial risk. In most cases, your insurance company can allot an additional fee for covering your pet. However, in other cases, you may want to get a separate liability insurance policy for your pet. This is an especially good idea if you have a large, aggressive, or potentially destructive breed, as it can expand the amount of protection you have from legal damages in the case of a dog-bite or dog attack lawsuit.

Dog breed seriously impacts insurance cost

The sad truth is that many pet owners don’t tell their insurance company about the dog in their home because their insurance company does not cover that breed. The answer isn’t to lie– it’s to get a new insurance carrier! While some companies cover all breeds and others have a large list of excluded ones, no matter what insurance carrier you use, the type of breed you own will end up significantly affecting your insurance rate.

When it comes to dog breeds, the most expensive dogs to insure include Great Danes, English Bulldogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Rottweilers, Shar Peis, and Boxers. In contrast, the least expensive dog types of insure include Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Lakeland Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, and Welsh Terriers. While there’s not much you can do about dog breed if you already own a dog, looking at breed insurance prices might help you decide if you’re in the market for another dog.

Lying about dogs in your home is a tempting but potentially expensive mistake

Sure, it might be tempting to lie about the dog in your home– but being dishonest has more risks than benefits. While it might seem expensive at first, it’s a smart investment to spend money upfront to make sure your dog is insured. This means increasing the liability coverage on your current insurance policy or buying a new liability policy to cover your dog, or some combination of the two. Failing to do so could leave you uninsured in the case of a serious lawsuit— or unable to claim damages after your pooch ruins your expensive home renovations.

To learn more about how your furry friends could impact your insurance coverage, contact Avante Insurance today for a free consultation.