21 Mar 2011 Massachusetts Dog Owners: Don’t Sacrifice Great Homeowners’ Insurance Coverage

If your family is anything like mine, the dog is part of the family! Unfortunately this can complicate your homeowners’ insurance situation depending upon the breed of your family dog.  Some insurance companies are wary of insuring homes with specific dog-breeds because of the insured’s strict liability.   Any damage caused by your pet is considered your personal responsibility, which can become very costly.  With dog bites accounting for about one-third of all homeowners’ liability claims companies must protect themselves.

Although at first there was disagreement, the insurance company excluding various dog breeds under the policy is perfectly legal.  Any company can exclude specific things on a policy; it is the responsibility of the insured to fully read through and understand the terms.  Today, there is a standard list of the dog breeds that will likely not be covered under the Massachusetts homeowners’ policy (although some companies do not exclude any dog breeds under their homeowners’ coverage).

The breeds include, Akita, American Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Dalmatian, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Terrier, and Wolf Hybrids.  Also, any dog with a mix of any of these breeds would be considered ‘on the list’.

With $9.6 billion per year paid due dog attacks, it’s easy to see why this could be a crippling expense for some insurance companies.  Different companies and states have different regulations; so the best way to determine about your specific situation, is to contact your local independent insurance agent.  Although notifying your insurance company may lead to having a higher premium, or cancelation by your company, disclosure is necessary.

Not notifying the insurance company of a dog’s breed will only lead to more troubles for the insured; claims may not be paid if information is not disclosed.  By not telling the full truth to the insurance agent, the insured will consequently nullify their policy, even if the claim has NOTHING to do with the dog.  So it’s best to be honest, and find coverage that works for you; for the right premium coverage is usually available.

For more information about this topic, or to get some answers about your current insurance situation, please visit our virtual insurance agency at berryinsurance.com, stop by one of our two locations, or give us a call at (800) 941-3317.

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