How Dogs Affect Your Insurance - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Mar 13, 2019

How Dogs Affect Your Insurance

Do you know how the size and breed of your furry friend can affect your premium?

Dogs are a beloved part of your family. But when it comes to insurance, it’s all about the risk. As pet owners, you have to take into consideration the risk your dog poses to others. 

As unfortunate as it is, all dogs can bite. In 2017, homeowners insurers paid out over $686 million in liability claims from dog bites. Because of this high financial responsibility, most insurance companies tend to have restrictions when it comes to covering the liability of a homeowner with a furry four-legged family member. 

Why does your dog matter to insurance companies? 

Most insurance companies have categorized specific dog breeds that are “high risk.” These breeds are determined based on statistical evidence related to dog breeds and bite claims. 
Below are a list of dogs that some insurance companies deem to be “high risk”:

  • Terrier
  • Pitbull Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • American Bulldogs
  • Any mixed breeds that include the above 

You may have noticed that the majority of the breeds listed above are larger than 40 pounds. Although you aren’t asked, the weight can be assumed based on the breed.  

In the end, it’s all about the risk and all insurance companies assess risk and write policies differently. Most companies can deem you “uninsurable” and deny you coverage based on this factor alone.  Others can make an exception and charge you a higher premium based on the liability assessment. 
When obtaining homeowners insurance, it’s important to be honest with your agent or risk losing coverage altogether. 

You can’t change your dog’s breed, however there are several ways to reduce your risk of a claim:

  1. Socialize—Introducing your dog to other dogs, cats, humans and environments at a young age can help reduce fear as they grow. 
  2. Vaccinations—This goes hand in hand with being a good pet owner. You would never want your dog to spread diseases, especially deadly ones. 
  3. Keep your dog close—Keep your dog on a leash in public. This allows you to have control and maintain the safety of others.
  4. Be attentive—They always say “dogs are man’s best friend.” Listening and understanding your dog’s signals are a big part of companionship. If your dog is noticeably uncomfortable, always remove them from the situation. 
  5. Maintain supervision—When in a stressful or triggering environment, always keep an eye out. This could involve interactions with children, strangers, and any new animals you may encounter. 
  6. Enroll in training classes—Check with your local pet stores and animal shelters to see which classes are best for you and your dog. Some may even offer free classes when adopting. 
  7. Consider a liability limit increase—If you’re really worried about your dog and its effect on your insurance, talk to your local agent about raising your liability limit or investing in an umbrella policy. 

Your pet is a part of your family and we understand that. It’s worth knowing the impact your four-legged friend could have on your insurance policy.