• Owning a snake or a reptile: What impact could this have on your home insurance policy?

    February 5th, 2020Christopher Johnson

    Most people choose to bring home a dog, a cat or a bunny, but some choose an exotic animal such as a snake or another type of reptile. When you brought home your cold blooded pet, we’re quite sure that the last thing on your mind was your home insurance policy. Please be informed, however, that bringing home a reptile can have a direct impact on your insurability! Indeed, some insurers might decide to cancel your policy or refuse to cover an eventual claim when they learn of your purchase. Assurances Multi-Risques would like to explain why this can happen and have you understand why it’s important to inform your insurer if you ever decide to bring a reptile into your home.

     

    Why do some insurers refuse to cover reptile owners?

    Under the Quebec Civil Code, animal owners (including reptile owners) are liable to compensate any damage caused by their pet. Moreover, in such cases, victims have only to prove that the damages are a result of the animal’s conduct, not that of the animal’s owner. Therefore, if your pet causes any damages, you will be held responsible for your pet’s behavior whether it was under your care, under someone else’s care or otherwise at the time the damages were inflicted. That means that someone can sue you for your pet’s actions, and that is when liability insurance comes into play!

    Liability insurance is part of your home insurance package. This type of protection will allow you to pay the legal fees and settlement that can result if you, someone living with you or your pet has caused involuntary damages to a third party.

    Some insurers think that owning a reptile carries too high a risk and therefore simply decline any insurance request associated with them. To illustrate this, do you remember the tragic accident that occurred in New Brunswick a few years ago where a python strangled two young children to death? Such occurrences can be extremely costly for insurance companies and that is why many insurers simply refuse to cover reptile owners.

     

    Should you tell your insurer that you own a reptile?

    As with dogs such as Pitbulls, Rottweilers or Dobermans which are considered as dangerous dog breeds, reptile owners must inform their insurer in order to avoid problems in case they ever make a claim. If your insurer fortuitously discovers that you own a reptile, he may refuse to cover any claim you make by citing an increased risk. For more information on this, please read our previous article on the subject.

    If your insurer cancels your insurance policy because you own a cold blooded pet, we strongly advise that you contact an independent insurance broker who specializes in non-standard insurance and who will be able to find an insurer who will be willing to offer you appropriate home insurance coverage.

     

    In conclusion, adopting an animal is always a happy occasion and no one ever thinks that their pet could eventually harm someone. Your actions, however, can have repercussions – even on something like your home insurance coverage! All of these things must be taken into consideration, particularly when bringing home a reptile as you now know that this can cause problems with your insurer.

    To make sure that you that you have appropriate home insurance coverage even if you have a cold blooded pet, contact one of our independent insurance brokers. Our brokers work with many insurers and will certainly help you to find one willing to offer you home insurance coverage.