Dogs take bite out of homeowners insurance

How insurance views dog risk
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On the risk scale, homeowners insurance companies view dog ownership somewhere between teenage drivers and swimming pools. Like teen drivers, the group may be risky but individuals within it may not. Like swimming pools, the risk is manifest; just as no one drowns in homes without pools, dog bites don't occur in homes without dogs.

The Insurance Informatin Institute's Worters says most insurers don't approach the problem from a breed perspective. "Most of them look at incidents where there's been a claim. Once a dog has bitten someone, then it poses an increased risk," she says.

State Farm spokesman Dick Luedke agrees: "Our underwriters believe it doesn't have much to do with the breed; it has more to do with the upbringing and training of the dog."

Cunningham says he understands why some homeowners insurance firms prefer not to take the risk.

"They lose absolutely nothing by not insuring pit bull or Doberman owners," he says. "So they lose a few paying customers. From their perspective, they lose a lot of risk, too."




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