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Daniel T. Murray Blog: homeowners

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Your dog isn't just a good dog -- he's your best friend who wouldn't hurt a flea.

But you might have to prove it to get your home insurance company to cover him, especially if he belongs to a breed with a reputation as aggressive.

Home insurers are increasingly cautious about providing liability coverage for dogs because pooches are taking a bigger bite out of their bottom lines.

More than one-third of the dollars home insurance companies pay out for liability claims is for injuries caused by dogs. Last year, dog liability insurance claims cost home insurers more than $483 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm, the largest U.S. home insurance provider.

The average cost of a dog liability claim nationwide, which was $27,862 in 2013, has grown more than 45 percent in the last decade, thanks to rising medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, says Loretta Worters, III vice president.

Traditionally, renters and homeowners insurance has covered dog bite liability legal expenses up to the policy's liability limits. But some insurers now require dog owners to sign liability waivers for dog bites, and some exclude certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls, Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds, from liability coverage, or they charge more to cover certain breeds. Some home insurers won't cover dogs, period.

Showing your dog is a good citizen

How can you prove your dog is not a risk?

In some cases, especially if your dog has already bitten someone, you might have to resort to purchasing a separate dog liability insurance policy to cover him.

But in other cases, you might be able to persuade your home insurer to cover your dog if you can document that you are a responsible owner.

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Posted 1:42 PM  View Comments


What makes something worthwhile? When it comes to your home, it’s all about long-term benefits. These four actions will save you tons of time and money down the road!

Plant Trees. If you have a yard that can handle it, planting a few trees on your property will go a long way. Not only will trees provide comfortable shade and reduce your cooling bills during the summer, they'll also increase your property value by 7 to 15 percent over time. Win-win!

Keep Track of the Past. Ten years from now, are you going to remember the exact date you had your roof repaired? Probably not! Routine maintenance and upkeep is a lot easier when you have detailed records of everything that’s happened to your home, so record as you go.

Inspect “Hidden” Areas. How is the insulation in your attic looking these days? What about the pipes in your basement? These unseen areas of your house can fall into disrepair if you don’t check them out every once in a while! For a more detailed list of important spots, read: Inspect This! The BrightNest Home Maintenance Roundup.

Be Proactive. It’s easy to ignore small problems around the house. But if you get into the habit of ignoring issues like squeaky doors, peeling wallpaper and dripping faucets, you no longer have a "small problem." You have a Frankenstein monster of minor complications. The solution is easy: if something's broken, simplify your life by taking care of it right away.

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Posted 8:11 AM  View Comments


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Daniel T. Murray, Inc.
19150 Wolf Road  Mokena, IL  60448
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