In the Florida and Arizona homeowners’ insurance markets, the population, which tends to be a bit older than elsewhere, has a great affinity for household pets, especially dogs. Maybe this is due to the number of empty nesters and widows/widowers, but the question often come up as to whether homeowners can be covered by their home insurance policy when Fido bites the mail carrier. The short answer is usually yes, it should be covered by the liability section of your insurance policy.
Although Fido is usually an angel, he can get you into hot water all sorts of ways:
- · Attacking or biting people or other animals
- · Digging up your neighbor’s garden
- · “Going” where he shouldn’t
- · Defacing property
- · Impregnating your neighbor’s champion Schnauzer
Actually, the list is endless. That is why you need good liability protection in your homeowner’s policy, because no one can predict what your pet will do next.
While most dogs and cats are usually no problem to insure, some pets might pose a problem:
- · Certain dog breeds are considered uninsurable, due to the history of the breed. This may not seem fair, as each pet has its own personality, but it is the only way insurance providers can keep rates reasonable. For instance, a policy might exclude pit bulls, even though yours is a little princess. Problematic breeds include the bull terrier and the chow chow.
- · Big cats, like lions, pumas, tigers and leopards are usually excluded. It’s hard to see how any homeowner would feel 100 percent safe around such animals, but others claim that a hand-raised tiger is perfectly safe. Most insurance providers would doubt this.
- · Primates such as monkeys, apes and orangutans are considered potentially dangerous.
- · Exotics like snakes, alligators, scorpions, piranha, bears, fire ants, black widow spiders, hyenas, and sharks would be nearly impossible to insure.
The best way to make sure your pets are covered is to review your policy carefully with your insurance broker. In some cases, an insurer may be able to add a specific rider to you home insurance policy for pets that are not normally covered. For instance, you might own a type of bird that is not usually covered but is not considered dangerous. The smart thing to do is to speak with your agent and fully understand all of the alternatives available to you.