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Is your dog endangering your home insurance?

When you brought home your new dog, the possibility of the pup affecting your home insurance was probably the last thing on your mind. You and other Washington residents may be surprised to learn that many insurance companies blacklist some dog breeds, and if you have a dog that is on one of these restricted lists, it could cause your home insurance to be dropped.

Why is this so, you may wonder? You may find it especially unfair if your dog has never shown any signs of aggression. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not feel the same way. Liability for injuries resulting from pet attacks usually falls to the pet owner’s insurance company. For example, if your friend is over for dinner and Fido feels threatened and bites, your homeowners’ insurance is likely to be held responsible for paying the medical bill.

Therefore, many insurance companies aim to avoid being liable by restricting coverage for homeowners with dogs that are considered high-risk. As Psychology Today explains, many dog breeds that are large or widely considered dangerous, such as pit bulls, German shepherds and rottweilers, are included on home insurers’ blacklists. However, you may be surprised to find smaller and more seemingly harmless breeds on your insurer’s restricted list. The schipperke, a dog breed averaging about 15 pounds in weight, has been included in at least one insurance company’s restricted breed list.

Does any of this information mean you should get rid of your dog? Not necessarily. If you are concerned, it can help to discuss the issue with your insurance company and see if there are alternatives if your dog is considered a high-risk breed. This information is not meant to replace the advice of a lawyer.

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