• “Dangerous” dogs and home insurance: a difficult mix

    7 November 2018Christopher Johnson

    Adopting a dog is always a joyous occasion! Man’s best friend is sure to give you tons of unconditional love. You have carefully chosen your pet according to your way of life, your needs and your canine esthetics, and you are rather looking forward to the upheaval this little ball of fur will be bringing to your life. Did you know, however, that if you have adopted a dog whose breed is considered dangerous, you may be in for a surprise home insurance-wise? Indeed, based on how dangerous your dog is considered to be, some insurers may refuse to insure you. In this article, Assurances Multi-Risques will do its best to explain why that is and what to do about it.

     

    Dangerous dog: you must inform your insurer

    Even if your Pitbull, German shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman or Malamute (non-exhaustive list) is still only a cute, sweet and innocent little ball of fur, you must inform your insurer of your latest acquisition. Your insurer will then decide if he will: 1) go on insuring you; 2) cancel your insurance contract at no additional cost or; 3) ask you to sign a liability disclaimer regarding your pet.

    Why do insurers do that? Because of the statistics! In the past, insurance companies have had to pay claims exceeding the value of home insurance contracts to people who had been bitten by someone’s dog. According to article 1466 of the Quebec Civil Code, “The owner of an animal is bound to make reparation for injury it has caused, whether the animal was under his custody or that of a third person, or had strayed or escaped”. That is why some insurers may categorically refuse to grant you coverage if you adopt a dog from a breed that is considered dangerous in case you ever file a claim in connection with your family pet.

    What if you decide to avoid declaring your dog to your insurer? In that case, you must know that having not been informed of your dog’s existence, your insurer is likely to refuse any claim in relation to your animal. The presence of this dog in your home is considered to increase your insurance risk and must therefore be reported to your insurer.

     

    A few tips on how to insure your dog

    To increase your chances of finding an insurer willing to insure you even if you own a dangerous dog, we recommend that you contact an independent insurance broker who will be able to accurately determine your situation and to find an insurer that is right for you. Here are also a few tips that will help you to get a positive answer from insurers :

    • Make sure to take obedience classes with your dog. It has been proven that such courses make the dog more sociable towards strangers and improve the master’s control over the animal;
    • Put up a fence around your house. This is likely to reassure insurance companies;
    • Always keep your dog on a leash when in public.

     

    In conclusion, we understand that you love your dog, and that it’s probably not aggressive all. We also understand your frustration if you have had several insurers say no to you, and that you are becoming concerned that you will not be able to find an insurer. Do not, however, make the mistake of not declaring your dog’s existence. That would only make matters worse if something ever happened. Instead, contact an independent insurance broker who will find you an insurer and thus allow you to spend more quality time with your pooch!