People in this country love their pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, or APPA, 85 million families in the United States have a pet. This equals 68% of households. It should come as no surprise that dogs are the most popular pets, followed by cats and freshwater fish. Other kinds of pets that made the most popular list include birds, reptiles, horses, and saltwater fish.
If you are one of many people in the country who owns a pet, and you also own a home, you should know how having a pet affects your home insurance.
Here are four questions every pet owner should ask about home insurance.
1. Will Certain Kinds of Dog Breeds Increase My Premium?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year 4.7 million dog bites occur. Of those dog bites, 800,000 of them are serious enough to warrant medical care. Because dogs do bite, they are considered a liability. If someone comes to your home and your dog bites them, you will be held responsible.
The Insurance Information Institute states that one-third of all home insurance liability claims are due to dog bites. Certain dog breeds tend to have a stronger bite. These breeds pose a higher liability risk. Homeowners with dog breeds that tend to have stronger bites often end up paying a higher premium.
These dog breeds include:
- Pit bulls
- Chow Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Great Danes
Some home insurance companies have exclusions on these breeds altogether. You can still own these types of dogs, but if it ends up biting someone, your policy will not cover any costs from the dog bite.
2. Will My Exotic Pet Have Coverage on My Policy?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 10% of households in the United States have an exotic pet. This type of pet could include lizards, snakes, and amphibians. People even keep poultry and livestock as pets. Some of these kinds of exotic pets are still considered wild, even though they live indoors.
Also, livestock and poultry normally don't live inside the house. Some exotic pets might be deemed more dangerous while others might be prone to causing property damage. Before getting an exotic pet, you will want to make sure your home insurance policy covers it. You may simply have to get more coverage, or you can opt for umbrella insurance coverage.
In most cases, the more dangerous the animal, the higher the premium. As a homeowner, you should know that many states prohibit keeping certain exotic animals as pets. This includes the state of Colorado, where owning certain species of wildlife is illegal. The law also prohibits residents of Colorado from owning the following kinds of animals:
- Monkeys and other primates
- Exotic pigs
- Certain kinds of frogs
- Exotic bovids like the wildebeest
- Not only will these exotic animals not have coverage under a Colorado home insurance company, you will also likely get into trouble with the law for owning them.
3. What Happens If My Policy Doesn't Cover My Pet?
In most cases, if you have a certain breed of dog, cat, or any other kind of domestic pet, you won't have a problem with your home insurance policy. If you have a certain dog breed or an exotic pet that your policy doesn't cover, you have one of two choices.
You have to either give up your pet or find another home insurance company that will cover your pet. In some cases, you may simply have to pay a higher premium or get more coverage. Whatever the case, you should always be upfront with your home insurance company on what kinds of pets you have. You should also find out if the insurance has any exclusions for pets.
Why is this so important? You will find out the hard way what happens if you own a dog that is an excluded breed on your home insurance policy and it ends up biting someone. If you file a claim, and your agent finds out about the dog, they could end up canceling your policy.
Besides that, the incident will go on a report called the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) for seven years. If all that weren't bad enough, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in medical bills out of your own pocket.
Know how your home insurance policy covers pets. And make sure your insurance company knows what kind of pet you have.
4. Who Can I Contact for More Information on Pets and Home Insurance?
If you need home insurance, contact LA Insurance. We will be happy to give you more information on how pets are covered on our home insurance policies. We offer affordable home insurance in Colorado and have locations in Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Longmont, Arvada, and Colorado Springs.