The cost of Fort Lauderdale home insurance can be impacted by lots of things like crime rates, flood risk and the age of your home. Many homeowners don’t expect the cost of a policy to be affected by the breed of dog they own, but it happens.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates there are over 84 million dog owners nationwide. Roughly 5% of these pets are classified as pit bulls. While home insurance providers may exclude families that own pit bulls from their client list, they also may disallow the ownership of other dogs believed to be aggressive, like Akita, Alaskan, Chow, Doberman Pincher, German Shepherd, Malamute, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Wolfdog.
The Effect of Dog Bites
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Also, one in five dog bites result in injuries serious enough to require medical attention. The Insurance Information Institute, a non-profit agency, reports that dog bite claims account for more than one-third of all home insurance claims, equaling over $1 billion in damages in 2013.
Insurance companies will have different rules and regulations when it comes to insuring home with a dog classified as an aggressive breed. Some cities and counties, like Miami-Dade, have enacted breed-specific laws banning certain breeds. On the other hand, many insurance agencies still offer affordable homeowners insurance, along with other policy options, that will include coverage for your four-legged family member, no matter what the breed.
Getting Home Insurance Coverage
If you own a dog on the aggressive dog list, here are a few tips to help you obtain home insurance to cover any dog-related incidents:
1. Check your policy first. Dust off your homeowners or renters insurance policy and make sure that you are covered. Check and see if there are any exceptions or exclusions in the policy that are specific to the kind of dog you own. If there are no breed exclusions, check and make sure that dog bites that occur on your property are covered. A policy with a personal liability limit of at least $100,000 is ideal. For dog bites off of the property, read on – umbrella insurance or canine liability insurance policies may be a good investment.
2. Shop around. Look for companies that insure pit bulls. Online forums for specific breeds can provide an opportunity to ask fellow breed owners which insurance provider they use. You can also get insurance recommendations from family or friends with similar pets.
3. Train and socialize your pet. The American Kennel Club offers “The Canine Good Citizen Program.” This program teaches basic dog obedience skills, along with responsible pet ownership and has been recognized by many insurance companies as a way to get a discount on a home insurance or renter insurance policy.
4. Spay/Neuter Your Pet. A spayed or neutered animal tends to be less aggressive. According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs – 94% of which were not neutered.
5. Consider an umbrella policy. An umbrella policy is extra insurance designed to cover things that a general homeowner’s policy does not. If your homeowner’s policy does not cover dog bites or specific breeds, look for an insurance policy that will. A typical umbrella policy that covers dog bites will have a limit of $100,000. These policies are usually very affordable, at around $100-$300 a year.
6. Get canine liability insurance (Pit Bull Insurance). Canine liability insurance, also referred to as pit bull insurance, can cover damages your dog causes to property, animals, or people. Dog liability insurance can cover:
- Bodily injury to animals or people
- Third party property damage
- Vet bills
- Medical bills, including reconstructive surgery
- Attorney’s fees
- Income compensation for the injured parties.
Dog bites can be unexpected and expensive. Taking proper precautions by having sufficient insurance can make the difference between financial stability and financial ruin after an unexpected dog bite occurs.