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Dogs have transitioned from being a pet to being part of the family. Dogs bring added joy to your household as well as added security. Unfortunately, dogs also bring a higher liability risk to your homeowners insurance policy.
How the Family Dog Affects Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
Remember the old cartoons of seeing an oversized dog chasing a mailman down the street. Once the dog gets the mailman up a tree, the dog usually ends up taking a bite out of the mailman's pants, leaving them red cheeked as their polka dot boxers are exposed. In 2007, the U.S. Postal Service reported that more than 3,000 city and rural carriers were bitten by dogs.
While the chase in the cartoons was funny, the resulting insurance claim definitely wouldn't be. Dogs add an increase liability to your homeowners insurance policy for such an incident. That's why it is imperative that you notify your homeowners insurance provider about any dogs you have.
New Dog Means New Homeowners Insurance Policy
Just like adding a swimming pool to your homeowner's policy, owning a dog is a policy underwriting factor that insurance companies take very serious. Insurance companies aren't worried that your dog is going to knock a candle over and burn the house down; rather their primary concern is if your dog bites somebody. Simply put: dogs are a liability risks to homeowners policies.
Dog Bite Liability in Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability, as long as your dog is disclosed to your insurance company. Insurers may charge more or even deny your application if you own specific types of dogs. These are determined by the frequency of dog bites for the breed, whether they are large dogs that can inflict a lot of damage, and the breed's general reputation Dogs such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers are unfortunately red flagged by homeowners insurance companies.
After You Get a Dog, Update Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
Adequately insuring a home with a dog is a common oversight by many homeowners. Some try to save money by omitting the information from the application, and others simply neglect to report the pet since they're already committed to an affordable policy. Knowingly omitting relevant liabilities to your insurance company constitutes grounds for policy cancellation, which is certainly not in your financial interests.
You may find that adding a dog to your homeowners policy will be negligible to your premium, however, if the opposite is true, it's time to shop around for new coverage. Since homeowners insurance policies vary from company to company, the best way to find the coverage you need at the best price is to comparison shop. Using InsWeb's online quote forms makes this seemingly daunting task easy and manageable.
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