Let me start off by saying that this appears to be specific to California (as far as I can tell). Farmers Insurance has decided to stop providing liability coverage in a homeowners policy for dog owners of Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, or Wolf hybrids.
A homeowners insurance policy will cover many things. It can help you with the cost of replacing items that have been stolen from your home. It covers the cost of repairing your home due to damage from a storm, a fire, or even a vehicle that has driven into your house. This coverage includes damages to your garage, porch, and other structures on your property.
Not everyone realizes that homeowners insurance covers liability, too. If someone becomes injured while at your home, that person can file a claim to your homeowners insurance policy. The policy should cover the person’s medical bills. The same liability coverage also covers the medical care a person requires after your dog bites them.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, about $479 million was paid out by insurers in dog bite claims. California is the state that has the most dog bite claims. In 2011, there were 527 dog bite claims filed in the state, for a total payout of around $20.3 million.
In general, insurers want to find customers who are considered to be low risk. The point is for the insurer to avoid having to pay out a lot of expensive claims. When it comes to homeowners insurance, there are some insurers who will refuse to write a policy for a homeowner that has a dog that is of certain breeds.
Farmers Insurance has recently made a change to their homeowners policies. They will no longer be providing liability coverage of dog bite claims that involve three breeds of dog: Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Wolf hybrids. As far as I can tell, this change is specific to customers who live in California.
The insurer is not canceling the policies of homeowners who have a dog that is one of those three breeds. Instead, they are requiring customers to sign an exclusion waiver of liability for the dog bites. Those that choose not to sign will not have their policies renewed.
Why are these three particular breeds being focused on? Erin Freeman is the chief communications officer for Farmers. She released a statement that (in part) said:
These three breeds accounted for 25 percent of dog bite claims. In addition, these breeds cause more harm when they attack than any other breed.
Image by maplegirlie on Flickr