There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. Dogs will bite, act up and become aggressive only because their owners are irresponsible and don't teach their dogs properly. Yet, insurance companies don't see it that way. Many insurance policies won't cover injuries for "high-risk" dog breeds such as pit bulls even if the homeowner has liability coverage that protects against dog-related injuries [source: Patel].
Where do the insurance companies get their "high-risk" list? Like anything with insurance, it all comes down to numbers. Although there is no standard formula, the insurance companies go by the average number of bites reported by each breed. However, the Humane Society of the United States says the list changes each year. A few years ago, the Doberman was the most-feared breed. Today, it's the pit bull and Rottweiler [source: Larson].
Are "aggressive breeds" a big problem? According to Insurance Information Institute, dog bite claims increased nearly 11 percent from 2006 to 2007, the last year figures were available. The average insurance claim was $24,511 [source: Larson].
Author's Note: 5 Things Homeowners Insurance Won't Cover
Don't be afraid to argue with your insurance company if you think something should be covered. These days, they're more than happy to have your business.
More Great Links
- All Safe Insurance. "Terrorism Insurance." (March 29, 2012). http://allsafeinsurance.net/blog/archives/152
- Bradenton Herald. "Spring is Flood Season and a Reminder to Consider Buying Flood Insurance Policy." March 20, 2012. (March 26, 2012).
- KCCI.com. "Homeowners Find Insurance Won't Cover Floods." Aug. 13, 2010. (March 29, 2012). http://www.kcci.com/r/24628304/detail.html
- Larson, Heater. "Dogs on insurance blacklist." Bankrate.com. (March 29, 2012). http://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/homeowners-insurance-bites-dogs-that-bite-1.aspx
- Moran, Grew. "Homeowners Insurance: is Terrorism Covered?" Houselogic. April 9, 2010. (March 29, 2012). http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-insurance/homeowners-insurance-terrorism-covered/
- New, Catherine. "Unusual Earthquakes Leave Many Wondering: Is my Home Covered." AOL.com. Aug. 23, 2011. (March 29, 2012). http://www.dailyfinance.com/2011/08/23/unusual-earthquakes-leave-many-wondering-is-my-home-covered/
- Palmer, Kimberly. "When Homeowners Insurance Won't Protect you: Surprised by holes in insurance coverage? Keeping records and fighting back can mean a happier ending." March 8, 2012. (March 29, 2012). http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-201203081144usnewsusnwr201203070307insurancemar08,0,3983914.story
- Patel, Julie. "Surprise: 10 risks your home insurance may not cover." Sun Sentinel. Sept. 2, 2011. (March 29, 2012). http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-09-02/business/fl-insurance-policy-exclusions-20110902_1_trampolines-home-insurance-insurance-information-institute
Most homeowners insurance won't cover your home if you're renting it via sites like Airbnb. HowStuffWorks looks at insurance policies that will.