Homeowners dog

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Dogs and home liability insurance.

The breed of dog you have can impact how much you pay for home insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites cost the property and casualty insurance industry about $317.2 million in 2005. With a figure like that, you better believe that insurance companies look carefully at what kind of dog lives on your property. 

Now, not all home insurance companies treat owning a dog the same way, and some may be dog friendly. But it's a good idea to know how your dog might affect your rate. 

Breeds that are statistically more likely to bite or injure someone can raise your home insurance rate. That's why if you plan on adding a four-legged member to the family you might want to make sure it's not a breed that's going to open you up to lawsuits and high insurance premiums. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tracked the breeds that caused the most fatalities over a 20-year period, from 1979 to 1998. They are as follows: 

— Pit Bull type 

— Rottweiler 

— German Shepherd 

— Husky 

— Malamute 

— Doberman Pinscher 

— Chow Chow 

— Great Dane 

— Saint Bernard 

If you already have a dog, you can take steps to reduce the chance that it might bite. Here's what the Insurance Information Institute suggests: Make sure your dog is spayed or neutered. Work to train and socialize your dog with people and other animals. Avoid playing aggressive games like tug-of-war that could encourage aggression. Always be aware of any situation that you're not sure how your dog will respond, and maintain control of your pet throughout. 

You might want to consider getting additional liability coverage with an umbrella policy

If you are planning on getting a dog, check with your insurance agent to see if there is an issue. You may also want to get some comparison home insurance quotes to see if you can find a lower rate.

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