(Picture Above. My daughter, Marissa, and her dogs Porter(left) and Zeke(right))
We Americans love our dogs, I have three myself! What many of us don’t know, is that insurance companies may not be willing to write insurance on your home depending on what kind of dog you have and its history. This can be very important depending on the breed of the dog that you have, especially if you’d rather move your insurance than get rid of your loveable pooch!
There are two main ways to define the types of dogs that are unacceptable to insurance companies: breed and history. We’ll discuss history first. In general, companies will not accept dogs that have previously bitten someone or another dog, displayed vicious or aggressive tendencies or is considered a vicious or dangerous dog by the State of Ohio. This is pretty straight forward. If your dog has a history of problems, insurance companies don’t want to cover your dog because it’s likely that they may have future problems.
The State of Ohio generally has three definitions of dogs: Nuisance, Dangerous and Vicious. A nuisance dog means “a dog that without provocation and while off the premises of its owner, keeper or harborer has chased or approached a person in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger a person”. A dangerous dog means “a dog that, without provocation has done any of the following: caused injury, other than killing or serious injury to any person, killed another dog or been the subject of a third or subsequent violation of section 955.22 of the Revised Code”. A vicious dog means “a dog that, without provocation has killed or caused serious injury to any person”. These definitions do not apply to police dogs acting within their official duties. See the ORC for more complete definitions http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/955. Insurance companies may exclude all of these definitions of dogs or only Dangerous and Vicious.
The other way insurance companies determine unacceptable dogs is by breed. The typical breeds insurance companies will not accept are: Chow, Doberman, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Staffordshire Terrier, and Wolf Hybrids. However, they may also exclude: Akita, German Shepherd, Presa Canario, Malamute, and Mastiff breeds as well. Some companies will exclude breeds altogether and other companies will allow these breeds if they are mixes, females or neutered males.
It’s important to check with your agent and see how your company handles any of these dog breeds. Some carriers have automatic exclusions for these breeds or dogs with bite history. This can be in place on your policy without you knowing it. Other companies will allow you to have these dogs but will place an exclusion that won’t cover any bodily injury or property damage that the dog causes.
Overall, it’s important to know how your company, or prospective company, will handle your liability coverage with respect to your dog. You can certainly get any dog you want and pursue your interests but make sure you know how your insurance will respond if a claim situation arises. Feel free to contact us at the Frederick Agency today , 419-732-3171, with any questions!
By Brennan Madison