But My Dog Doesn't Bite...


Tara, the Bakersfield, CA, house cat got a lot of press this week by scaring away a dog who was attacking his four year old owner, Jeremy. Amazingly the dog ran off but Jeremy still suffered two lacerations and required sutures. The story appeared on many local news sites where readers can leave their comments. Although most comments were about how the cat was such a hero, one comment caught my “insurance” eye. Someone left a post asking why insurance companies would sell insurance to homeowners with “aggressive dog breeds”. The answer is most don’t – and as a homeowner or landlord it is important that you know that.

Most insurance companies will not write a homeowners, landlords or renters policy if the insured or tenant owns the following type of dog breeds:

· American Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terriers, all American Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, and any mixture thereof. Some may also not allow German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Malamutes, Huskies, Akitas, Dalmatians, Dingos, and any mixture thereof.


But so many people own them, what’s the big deal?

 If you are shopping for insurance one of the questions you will find on the application that you will sign, will ask what type of pet(s) you own. If you own one of the above breeds and neglect to mention it you are committing insurance fraud. If your dog, that you neglected to mention, then bites someone, you could be held personally responsible or even find yourself arrested for fraudulent information on an insurance application. This is serious stuff. Insurance companies don’t like people that lie on applications, nor do they enjoy paying out on dog bite claims.

According to a story on NJ.com, dog bite claims for U.S. insurers climbed 5.5% last year to 17,359, breaking the record from 2003. Nationwide the average cost of a dog bite claim was $27,862.

Of course everyone wants to think “my dog will never bite anyone” but you can never be truly sure about that. (My own little Shih Tzu-Yorkie once bit right through my finger nail trying to fight me over a fish bone.) And the effect that a dog bite can have on getting insurance in the future can be monumental. It is possible that your insurer may cancel your policy and once that happens it is very difficult and expensive to get insurance elsewhere for several years. You can expect your insurance to double, even triple.

Over the last decade the population of “aggressive breeds” has increased. Just look at the number of “rescue” or abandoned dogs that are available every day. Each one of these dogs deserves a good home; just know what your liability will be when taking one into your home.

What can you do as a pet owner?

·  Tell the truth. Don’t lie to your insurance company as to what breed of dog you own. Instead, insure yourself properly or know what your legal/financial responsibilities are.

·   Know what your policy states in regards to animals. You may have an “animal exclusion” and not be aware of it. If so, you will be personally responsible to pay for injuries to others, or even be sued.

·   Keep your dog on a leash or never leave it unattended.

·   As a landlord, write it into the lease that “aggressive breed” dogs are not allowed. Spot check your units from time to time and question your tenants, as to    animals, upon lease renewal.

·  Before adopting, rescuing or purchasing a dog, check with your insurance agent to see if your policy allows it or how you will be affected.


May 18-24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. For some great tips to prevent dog bites go to the AVMA website.

Protect Yourself With Renters Insurance

Protect Yourself with Renters Insurance

Several recent studies have indicated that only a third of all tenants have renters insurance. Respondents to these surveys often indicate that they believe the coverage is too expensive or that the coverage is provided by the landlord. Yet both of these assumptions are incorrect.

First, Renters Insurance is inexpensive. A basic yearly policy will run a couple hundred dollars a year based on the amount of coverage you select. In other words, you can get protection for your personal property and personal liability coverage for less than $20 a month. Second, your landlord will likely have insurance, but it will only cover the house or apartment structure itself along with the landlord's personal liability.

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Drowning - 9 Myths You Should Know

Summer is here and the backyard pools are open. Although we don't like to think about it, as much fun as pools are, they present a high level of danger. Here's a few myths and facts about drowning that we all need to be aware of. One. Drowning is not a real problem. Myth.  A residential pool is 14 times more likely to cause a death than an automobile. In California, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death among kids ages 1 to 4. Two. More children die in open water than pools. It's a myth. Fifty percent of deaths by drowning occur in residential pools. Three. It's more important to have a locked gate to keep the neighbors out then to worry about your own children. A. Myth. At the time of drowning, 65% of the children were at their own home, 45% were last seen safe inside the house just before the drowning, and 72% had direct access to the pool once they stepped outside their house. Four. Parental negligence is the reason children drown. Myth. According to the US CPSC D ...
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Lawn Mower Safety - 17,000+ Children Injured Every Year

Lawn Mower Safety - 17,000+ Children Injured Every Year
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Lawn Mower Safety - 17,000+ Children Injured Every Year

Spring time is here and with Spring comes the lawn moving season. This is a great time to discuss with your children the safety involved while mowing or just being around lawn mowers. The warning from safety experts is clear: Watch out for the kids.

In the month of April 2013 the following injuries have been reported around the country:

  •  A 2-year-old girl in Florida lost both of her feet when her father backed over her with a riding lawn mower on April 10, the Associated Press reported.
  • A 4 year-old boy in Tennessee had severe cuts on his arms and legs after a lawn mower ran over him, the Tennessean reported on April 17.
  • A 2-year-ol Maryland boy was in critical condition after a lawn mower he was riding with his grandfather overturned into a creek, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Here are some additional safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical groups:

  • Don't allow children under age 12 to operate a push mower or those under 16 to drive a riding mower.
  • When children and adolescents are old enough to use mowers, teach them safety steps such as wearing goggles and sturdy shoes.
  • Do not allow children to ride on mowers as passengers.
  •  Keep children off the lawn while mowing
  • Pick up potential flying objects, such as stones and toys, before you start mowing.
  • Do not pull a mower backward or ride it in reverse unless absolutely necessary. If you do mow backwards, carefully look for children behind you.

Edited from Kim Painter, USA Today

Home Safety Council – Pool Safety

This past week a Union Beach, NJ, family suffered the loss of their 3 year old child who drowned in their backyard pool. There is no better time to remind everyone of ways to safeguard your children, pets and others from the dangers that exist with pools. Enjoy the 4th of July weekend knowing everyone is safe with these tips from the Home Safety Council. When children are in or near the water, a grownup should watch them very carefully. Do not take your eyes off them. Older children should not be left in charge of younger children in the pool area.    If you have a pool or spa, install a fence that goes all the way around it. The fence should close and latch by itself. It should be least five feet high.   Always keep gates closed and latched. Never prop a gate open.  Do not leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over it.   Keep the pool area clear of things you could trip on.   ...
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This excerpt was taken from an email I received from a company JustSell.com. Some great words to live by especially in the tough times we live in today. I even posted it on our office wall.  Permission has been given to pass it along. Enjoy! complainless: (adj.) 1. to be free of complaints 2. a pleasure to be around To be ComplainLess… Be aware. Recognize your typical paths to complaining – what (who) sparks your tendency to gripe. Minimize your exposure to them (eliminating those ‘sparks’ altogether may not always be realistic or the best thing). Know that your grumbling is a complete waste of energy. Be thankful. Regularly reflect on all the good in your life (people, opportunities, things). Understand and enjoy how lucky you really are. Be entitled to nothing. Pause before you begin. Clip a complaint as you feel it coming. Put a smile or thoughtful statement in its path. Blame no one. Blame nothing. Be accountable. Focus on ...
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