10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Owner’s Insurance (& Your “Dangerous Dog”)

Yesterday I posted a list of breeds commonly “blacklisted” by insurance companies. Assuming you have no plans to swap the genes of your beloved dog or pack him off to join the circus, what can you do to keep your “dangerous dog” and your homeowner’s insurance?

  1. Pass the Canine Good Citizen’s Test with your dog. Some insurers may provide coverage or even give you a discount.
  2. If you adopt a shelter dog, ask the adoption staff to emphasize the mix whose PR is better on your paperwork. Breed types are usually guesses anyway. So instead of having an adoption receipt for a Shepherd Lab Cross, how about Lab mix? Or Terrier mix instead of Pit Bull?
  3. Research to find which insurers do not practice breed discrimination. State Farm is one that reviews each dog individually.
  4. Strengthen your application for insurance–have good credit; insure your car, life and home through the same company; stay with a company for a long time; and keep a high deductible. If the insurer has some leeway in making a decision, these factors may sway them in your favor.
  5. Live in Michigan or Pennsylvania. Both states have passed laws making it illegal for insurers to discriminate on the basis of breed.
  6. But if you have a pibble, look out in Ohio. State law defines a pit bull as a vicious breed. So no homeowner’s insurers will provide coverage.
  7. Protect your dog from harassment. Remember that an invisible electric fence may keep your dog home but it doesn’t prevent someone else from crossing your boundaries to get to him.
  8. Supervise your dog around young children. Most dog bites occur in the dog guardian’s home and the vast majority involve children.
  9. Join campaigns to fight breed specific legislation.
  10. Finally, don’t add to the problem of perception by naming your dog “Killer” or “Devil.” And don’t walk him on a spiked leash with a prong collar (which you shouldn’t do for any reason).
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  1. I would add: Don’t send photos like this to your insurance company: http://www.wilddingo.com/2009/07/09/i-cant-understand-why-gsds-and-huskies-are-uninsurable/

    • On the other hand, it shouldn’t be a problem for your insurer unless you think Loki is going to make a claim for damages. You wouldn’t do that, Loki. Would you?


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