There are many factors that go into the price of home insurance. How large your home is, where it’s located and what its replacement value would be are just a few of the items that can affect the overall cost of your insurance policy’s premium.
Did you know, though, that the members of your family could have an effect on the policy’s cost, too? Well, not the two-legged members, but those four-legged ones that you likely consider an essential part of your family.
That’s right. Your dog could have a direct effect on what your home insurance cost is. Depending on the type of dog breed you have, your home insurance cost could go up.
Below, we’ll take a look at whether German Shepherds are one of the dog breeds that can increase your home insurance cost, the reasons for this and what you should do if you own or plan to own a German Shepherd.
Can You Be Denied Coverage if You Own a German Shepherd?
In some states, home insurance companies are allowed to deny people coverage if they own certain dog breeds. This is called a blacklist. If you own one of these breeds of dogs, you can be denied coverage by law.
German Shepherds are a common breed that’s on these insurance blacklists. Others are Akitas, Pitbulls, Dobermans, Labrador Retrievers, Chow Chows and Rottweilers, to name a few.
The guidelines for which dog breeds are blacklisted and which aren’t can change from year to year, too. That’s because whether they’re on the list or not is typically dependent on the annual rate of dog bites the given breed has.
So, one year, the dog breed may be blacklisted, but then it can be removed from the list the next year. This certainly makes it challenging for dog owners who are looking for home insurance.
In Michigan, insurance companies aren’t able to deny homeowners insurance coverage just based on the breed of their dog. However, they can increase rates based on a dog breed, which means you may pay more on your premium if you own a German Shepherd or another breed on the common blacklist.
Why Are Certain Dog Breeds Blacklisted?
When insurance companies are making decisions about whether to underwrite a policy — and what the premium for that policy should be — they are conducting complicated statistical analyses about risk.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. They try to make sure that they are charging their customers enough money in premiums to offset the risk they’re taking on by extending the insurance policy.
As such, riskier situations typically result in higher premiums. This can be seen not just with home insurance but in all types of insurance.
For instance, a driver who doesn’t have a great driving record — who has a lot of speeding tickets, accidents and/or insurance claims — likely will pay more for their auto insurance premium than someone with a squeaky clean driving record.
The same goes for home insurance. If a situation exists that increase the risk that a homeowner will file an insurance claim that will result in a loss for the insurance company, the more the insurance company is likely to charge for the premium.
When it comes to animals, the risk is that the dog could bite someone and cause an injury that would result in someone filing a claim against the home insurance policy.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, almost 5 million people are bitten by a dog ever year in the United States. Of those bites, German Shepherds are responsible for 17.8% of them, which ranks third among all breeds. That’s why they’re considered a riskier dog breed to own, from an insurance perspective.
How Are Dog Bites Covered Under Home Insurance?
You might be asking why a dog bite injury would be covered under a home insurance policy. While your home insurance policy helps to protect against damage that your home might suffer, it also provides coverage in case someone is injured while on your property.
This is covered under the liability insurance section of your policy. It covers events such as if someone trips and falls on a broken piece of walkway, if someone is injured while on a trampoline in your backyard or if someone is bitten by your dog.
All of these incidents and more can result in people sustaining significant injuries. And those injuries might require extensive medical bills, as well as money to pay for things such as physical and mental therapy, lost wages, attorneys’ fees and more.
Your home insurance policy protects you from taking on this liability completely yourself, as that could certainly result in financial catastrophe for most people. Again, though, situations that create greater risk for the insurance company are likely to result in higher costs for you to help compensate for this risk.
Work with a Home Insurance Company You Can Trust
If you own a German Shepherd or plan to own one, it’s very important that you tell your home insurance company about it. While you might think it’s worth it to keep this information hidden from them — so as to keep your premiums from rising — doing so could result in injuries suffered from a dog bite not being covered.
As always, it’s best to work with a home insurance agent that you can trust so that you can inform them about all items that you need to cover with your home insurance policy. When you work with a trusted agent, you also know you’ll be getting the best policy available to you at the best cost.
In Michigan, Signature Insurance has established itself as a trusted insurance company for thousands of customers over the years. Contact us today to find out more about us and to get a free home insurance quote.