Don’t Let Bennie Cost You Your Homeowners Policy

Don’t Let Bennie Cost You Your Homeowners PolicyHomeowner’s Insurance… have you taken time to make sure your policy includes a little something to protect your from Bennie’s changeable temperament? Did you know, dog bite claims have reached record levels, costing the U.S. insurance industry $479 million in 2011, and the numbers keep rising. Sadly, the majority of bites will be from the family dog or one belonging to a friend or neighbor.

Therefore, you should not be surprise that insurance carriers are cautious when they see a homeowner securing a policy that includes a dog. Increasingly many insurance companies refuse to insure homeowners who own certain breeds, including Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Chow Chows, German Shepherds and Dobermans.

Dog lovers actually lobby on behalf of these breeds, but insurance underwriters may still refuse to write homeowner’s policies for owners whose pets are “blacklisted”. So, what’s are you to do? You love Bennie…

There is a solution that may help your insurance carrier provide you with homeowner’s coverage, pooch and all. The American Kennel Club sponsors a “Canine Good Citizen” designation, and local trainers throughout the U.S. offer classes to train your dog for the designation. The Canine Good Citizen dog must pass 10 temperament tests: He or she should allow a stranger to approach; demonstrate a lack of aggression to other dogs (very important since many people get bitten when their dogs tangle with others); and feel confident in a crowd.

For dogs who are already trained, evaluators are available throughout the U.S. to certify Bennie as a good citizen. Some carriers don’t accept the designation, although a bite-free history may help, but generally having a Canine Good Citizen may assist you in obtaining or keeping your homeowner’s insurance.

Let’s talk if you need a little more guidance on this topic. If you love your dog (and who doesn’t?), the cost associated with training and evaluation is a small price to pay.

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years