One of my clients who lives in the mid cities area of D/FW called me last fall. Her parents were moving from El Paso to live near her. The El Paso home the parents had lived in had been rented out to a family. Everything had gone smoothly until the drive-by inspection by their insurance company.
The inspector noticed the couple renting the home had a pit bull in the back yard. My client’s parents were coming to me seeking help because their insurance carrier was cancelling the policy. Their insurance company would not write a rental property policy on a home where the renters had an aggressive dog breed, in this case a pit bull.
All insurers have certain breeds of dogs they don’t care for. Most of these breeds are categorized as aggressive breeds and include:
- Pit Bull
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Italian Mastiff
- Wolf (or wolf mix)
- Great Dane
Insurance companies usually won’t write a primary home policy for someone who owns one of these dog breeds. They also won’t write a rental property policy for someone if their renter owns one of these dog breeds. The breeds an insurance company will allow varies from company to company. For instance, some companies will now accept German Shepherds as an acceptable risk while others will not.
I was able to help my client’s parents with a rental property policy that covered the home. The policy’s liability coverage, however, excluded the dog. It was not a great solution but it was the only solution available to them. My recommendation to my new client, as well as anyone who owns rental property:
- Write the lease contract so that it prohibits aggressive dog breeds.
- Doing so opens up more options for rental property insurance and saves money on the insurance policy.
- It also provides the greatest protection from a liability claim should the renters dog attack someone (Yes, the rental property owner could also be named in a lawsuit).
What’s been your experience? Share your questions, comments and experience with us in the comments section of our blog or on our Facebook and Google + pages. We’ll all learn something as a result of your sharing!