For some homeowners, insurance had gone to the dogs… There may now be a way to bite back.
Akita, Boerboel, Chow, Doberman, Kyiapso, Mastiff, American Bandogge Mastiff, Neopolitan Mastiff, Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, English Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Wolf Hybrid.
What do these breeds have in common? As far as most insurance companies are concerned, they all typically constitute an unacceptable risk. In 2010, dog bites accounted for over 1/3 of homeowner’s insurance liability claims, and the average dog bite claim cost over $26,000. These two factors make insuring a home with one of the above mentioned “aggressive” breeds an unappealing prospect for an insurance company.
No one can deny that many of these breeds come with a less than stellar reputation. However, when an agent has to decline a policy because of a dog, the typical response is something along the lines of, “My dog is a great pet,” or “Not my Fluffy, she’s the nicest dog in the world.” Unfortunately the response from the agent is usually, “I’m sorry.” Now, however, the agent can say, “Prove it.”
Allied Insurance has recently changed its guidelines regarding the previously black listed dogs. Owners of the above mentioned breeds now have the opportunity to have their dog evaluated for certification as an AKC Canine Good Citizen. Once the dog has successfully passed this test, and has no other previous bite history, it is no longer considered unacceptable by Allied. Owners of an AKC Certified Canine Good Citizen now have the opportunity to obtain a quality insurance product, without exclusion of coverage for dog bites. (New policies are subject to all underwriting guidelines to determine acceptability, including those regarding dogs.)
Please pass this information along to those people you know who own one of the breeds listed, homeowner or not. They likely do not have as comprehensive insurance package as they now could. Even worse, their current insurance provider likely does not know about their dog and they are at risk of losing their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance should the dog be discovered by the insurance company.
Contact Will Lockwood at Brenk & Company Insurance, (707) 526-1195, for any questions regarding homeowner’s insurance and your dog, and contact Robyn Kesnow, Animal RN at (707) 695-2500 for any questions regarding the AKC Canine Good Citizen program.
Your dog may surprise you; give him a chance.
This link is to the AKC Participant’s Handbook for the CGC program. It explains each of the 10 stations your dog will go thru during the evaluation. There is no such thing as failing a CGC, you just don’t pass and depending on the situation, you can either repeat a station or try again another time.
Why would you want to do the Canine Good Citizen test? The first and main reason is for your protection. Whether you run into a home or renters insurance company that won’t cover your home or if you ever have to prove to a court or the Animal Control Agency that your dog is not vicious, the CGC certificate shows that you are a responsible guardian of your dog. And we can never forget bragging rights, your best friend will be the talk of all his dog-park buddies with his new accomplishment under his belt.
More information about the CGC program.
Our next CGC test: July 17, 2011 at Rincon Valley Park in Santa Rosa, email: firstname.lastname@example.org $15 advance registration, $20 day of.
Canines that pass will receive a special CGC Bandana and certificate from Animal RN
After you pass your CGC, show off your accomplishment with a special tag.
The appears-to-be-junk is placed in a certain box on my desk for mindless review. I usually will go thru this type of mail when I find myself on a painfully long hold with a major telephone service provider or a human medical care provider. This was the fate of a certain piece of mail I recently received.
The article was obviously a standard, 8.5″ by 11″ piece of paper that had been folded in half. It was sent at full price, first class postage rate with machine generated address, return address and postage. Sounds like junk mail, a solicitation, right?
For this special piece of mail, I was opening it thirteen days after it’s postmark. I can’t say that’s unusual for something that was inches from the junk pile in my mind. When I opened it, I was immediately sorry it hadn’t looked more personal to get my attention. The note read:
Zeus (2yrs) Lost 4/6/2011”
There was a photo of Zeus. It was a blurry side profile of a dog that MAY have been tan and white and may have had some noteworthy markings on his paws and tail or they may have been from the reproduction of the flyer or poor photo quality.
The flyer then offered
“Breed: Chihuahua mix
Last Seen: Starview Dr., Santa Rosa, Ca
Details: Lucia lost her dog “Zeus” on 04.16.2011. You can also view this lost pet info at lostmydoggie.com
*Please photocopy and post around the area.
If you have any information please contact Lucia at
If you know me, you know, I was all over this. I immediately called the owner to find out if the dog was still missing and if I could help, I left a message on her voicemail. I got on the website and confirmed on their list that Zeus was still listed as a missing dog and thereby found how much “Lucia” paid to have these flyers sent out to pet businesses and or neighbors.
For me this reopened the can of worms, what is the best way to ID your pets? Zeus didn’t have tags, a microchip or a tattoo and yet this woman found a service to help her expedite finding her pet. Even if the service fails, just expanding your reach quickly can feel productive to someone that’s desperately searching for a pet. I could see the appeal, but wondered about it’s effectiveness.
I’ll share what I’ve muddled thru in an effort to find the best options and the best plan B’s for the worst case scenarios for our precious pets.
In the meantime, for those that are dying to know:
• In doing this research, I found the company’s Facebook page. While the site was not updated, the Facebook page showed that Zeus had been found and returned to Lucia on 5/12/2011.
• Lucia never returned my call. I did leaving another message to ask her how she felt about the service and the fee she paid.
• The website still lists Zeus as missing 1.5months after the Facebook page says he’s been found.
Depending on how our dogs and cats come into our lives, many of us are warned of the possibility of them being euthanized or otherwise in danger if they get away from us and we are not able to reconnect quickly enough. For example a local shelter has a hold of 4 days for animals found before they are evaluated for possible rehoming, transfer or euthanasia.
We’re working on a review and comparison of the various ways people attempt to identify their pets in case of an emergency.
There are 3 most common formats for identifying your pets. We’ve been looking at the benefits and disadvantages of each of these. We’re considering cost, effectiveness, and overall convenience. To get us started, please vote in our poll to let us know which format(s) you have used.
We’ll be looking at:
- The standard collar and tags
- and Tattoos
Vote today(Link) and check back here for the results of the poll and the new information that may change your mind about how you protect yourself and your pets.
Does your Petsitter or dog walker put you at risk?
Recently, I’ve been asked about insurance for dog walkers and pet sitters.
- Who should carry it?
- Why should they carry it?
- And who exactly is being protected by the coverage, the customer being served or the service provider?
I’ve directed these inquiries to a dear friend and trusted insurance professional Jay Zemansky of Sadler and Company, Inc. In the meantime, Jay has shared an article to help understand what this means for pet lovers bringing professional help into their homes to care for the fur babies. (Click the link below to view)
What does this mean for you, your dog walker or pet sitter? The bottom line is that if they are licensed and insured appropriately, your basic home owners or renters policy is sufficient. Trouble lies where the professionals are not licensed or insured. If your pet care providers are not insured, you will want to follow Jay’s suggestions for adding coverage to your basic policy. Insurance carriers can easily provide certificates of coverage and licensing agencies vary, but all offer some way to verify licensing where appropriate.
Your pet professional is licensed and insured… You’re covered. You’re basic homeowners or renters policy protects you from personal liability. Check with your insurance agent to verify the details of your policy.
You don’t know if your pet professional is licensed or insured… Ask. It’s easy for professionals to share their insurance coverage and licensing. Depending on the insuring and licensing agencies, it may take a couple business days to get verification.
Your pet professional is not licensed or insured… You have few options to protect yourself. (1) Add a rider to your current home owners or renter’s policy. (2) Appeal to your trusted pet caregiver to raise their professionalism and protect themselves as well. (3) Seek out a professional that will meet the needs of your fur babies and operate as a business and not a hobbyist.
Protect yourself, protect your pets.
Animal RN is licensed, bonded and insured for your protection and peace of mind.
Sadler & Co can be reached at http://www.sadlerinc.com, 415.457.2400