Blacklisted Dog Breeds Create Homeowners Insurance Dilemma
An Illinois investigative news team recently released their findings on an insurance trend that is upsetting dog owners across the United States. Several insurance companies are giving “blacklisted” dog owners an ultimatum: choose between their beloved dog or insuring their home. For those people who own a dog on the blacklist, this is creating quite the uproar as many of these dogs don’t have a bite history, nor have they shown any signs of aggression.
The Insurance Information Institute says that “dog owners are liable for any injuries their pets cause in the following instances:
1. If the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury;
2. If a state statute makes the owner liable, whether or not the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury;
3. Or, if the injury was caused by unreasonable carelessness on the part of the owner.
Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability. Most policies provide $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. If the claim exceeds the limit, the dog owner is personally responsible for all damages above that amount, including legal expenses.”
If you have a dog whose breed is on the blacklist, it means insurance companies have the right to raise your homeowners insurance rates, force you to sign a release of liability waiver that excludes fido from your homeowners policy, or worse yet, they can refuse to insure your home altogether.
These blacklisted dog breeds include, but can vary by company:
– Pit Bull
– German Shepherd
– Chow Chow
– Wolf Hybrid
– Presa/Dogo Canarios
If you are the owner of one of these dog breeds, check with your insurance company to see whether you are covered. If they find a problem, the best thing to do is to shop around. Not all insurance companies are alike. Some insurance companies will even cater to these blacklisted dog breed households, but at a premium.
All the insurance companies represented at the Reno Agency only look at the dog’s bite history. No specific breed can be excluded based on the Michigan Essential Insurance Act. According to the Michigan Insurance Coalition, “the Essential Insurance Act requires insurers to accept most applicants for automobile or home insurance, and it restricts the number and type of classifications insurers can use in order to develop rates.”
Check out this infographic presented by State Farm highlighting dog bite statistics. It’s important to remember that all dogs have the potential to bite if aggravated, even the cute and cuddly.