Becoming a parent to some fur baby is a big decision which brings by using it certain adjustments: there's pup-proofing your pad, stocking on Scooby snacks and – before you forget – updating your house insurance policy.
“It's something many people don't believe of,” says Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer relations using the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “But the truth is that when you buy a dog, you are taking on the new liability, and when something happens and you are not covered, you are going to wish you had tried it sooner.”
By something, he means in case your dog bites someone. This really is by far the most common claim made by dog owners – and not a cheap one, either. This year, State Farm paid out $108 million in liability claims related to dog bites in Canada. Several like that explains why dogs are highly relevant to a house insurance plan, while, say, cats aren't.
According to the Humane Society of Canada, dog bites occur approximately once every A minute, and based on the CDC, about one-fifth of nips are serious enough to require medical assistance. (Cat bites, on the other hand, while considered more dangerous, are much less common.) “Damage could lead to claims along with a lawsuit for injuries from the owner,” says Karageorgos, sometimes within the $20,000 to $30,000 range. It could also lead to higher premiums for that pet owner.
Applying for property insurance having a dog
Almost any home insurance application asks for those who have a pet in your home. (Lying relating to this could nullify your policy, because of this – don't.) There might be follow-up questions around your dog's size, age, as well as any good reputation for previous violence and breed. “A large amount of [insurance] companies have lists of the breeds that are considered problematic,” says Karageorgos, meaning either they will not include those dogs on a policy, or the policy will definitely cost more. In the event the homeowner receives a new pet, he states, but doesn't inform their insurance company, providers can cancel or deny renewal of an existing policy.
“A policy is really a contract,” says Karageorgos, “and when the terms change, the company has every right to renegotiate.”
Examples of 'dangerous' breeds
There is variety in one property insurance provider to the next, but the list of breeds prone to result in a problem includes: Rottweilers, Dobermans, Great Danes, Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies and, obviously, Pit Bulls, that are currently banned within the province of Ontario. These bans happen to be extremely contentious with lots of pro-Pit Bull advocates, who reason that dogs are just like their owners which an ill-tempered or untrained Shih Tzu poses a bigger threat.
This may be true (the Humane Society supports a repeal from the ban and there is a large amount of debate around whether Pit Bulls are actually responsible for more injuries than other breeds). However, from an insurance provider's point of view, there's another angle to think about. “Because of the public myth or belief relating to this particular dog breed, a hurt person might be more prone to sue the owner,” says Heather Mack, a director at IBC.
On the flipside, Fido can get points permanently behaviour. Many policy providers will take any training or perhaps a positive reference out of your vet into consideration. In some instances, an agent in the insurance company may make an at-home visit to complete their very own assessment. Insurers may exercise this same discretion around less common domestic critters, such as birds and snakes, and can never insure illegal pets, such as monkeys or exotic cats.
Make liability your priority
To avoid having to pay for claims from your own pocket, homeowners and renters need to find the best policy.
In to make sure you're covered when your dog injures someone in your yard, most experts suggest that owners look for a policy with liability coverage within the $100,000 range, with $1,000 for no-fault medical costs.
This could include upping your liability limit or even purchasing an umbrella policy for additional coverage, which may sound like big bucks for your four-legged friend, but remember that it is a competitive market out there. A little home insurance price comparisons might be well woof the effort.