Man’s Best Friend or a Liability?

mans best friendI am an animal lover, but dogs are my personal favorite. They are great company and it’s in their nature to seek your approval and love. Dogs are said to be “man’s best friend”, but have you ever thought about how your insurance could be affected by the type of dog you decide to own?

An insurer has the right to non-renew or even refuse to write your homeowner’s policy based on the breed of dog you own. There are specific breeds of dogs that have a negative connotation due to their aggressive reputation. Breeds such as Pit-bulls and Rottweilers have been known to attack, resulting in extensive injuries or even fatalities. In turn, hefty insurance claims are filed and paid.

Before deciding on a dog breed, check with your insurance agency to see which dogs your carrier will agree to write. There may be a surcharge based on the breed. And while choosing an eligible breed means your insurance company will write your coverage, as a dog owner you are potentially at a higher risk for a liability claim as the majority of states impose some level of strict liability if your dog were to bite or attack another person. Strict liability means that dog owners are liable for injuries their dogs inflict regardless of whether the owner was at fault, negligent, or even had any prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities. However, there are exceptions to strict liability in some states for dogs that are provoked by the victim (i.e. purposefully goaded into attack). Strict liability laws may differ by state so be sure to consult with your independent agent.

So what can you do to protect you and your family from a potential liability claim?

  1. Always keep your dog leashed when walking—it doesn’t matter how well-behaved your dog is, when walking it’s important to leash your dog and keep them close to you at all times to avoid possible exposures.
  2. Never let a stranger pet your dog—Even if your dog is friendly and loves people, what if the person makes him feel threatened? Your dog may act aggressively towards them and inflict harm.
  3. Keep your dogs leashed or fenced when letting them outside—it’s okay to give them some freedom, but what if they see a squirrel or rabbit? Most dogs have an instinct to chase other animals. In the process, they could cause a car accident by darting across the road, run into someone causing them to fall, or cause other property damage.
  4. Treat and train them properly—as a dog owner, you have an implicit responsibility to treat your dog well and train them. Dogs that are treated poorly tend to act out towards others more often. A well-cared for and well-trained dog is more likely to listen and not cause harm.
  5. Purchase a Personal Umbrella Policy—in the event of a claim caused by the actions of your dog, the financial burden could exceed your policy limits depending on the extent of the injuries. An umbrella policy may cover you above and beyond the underlying limits of your primary homeowners policy and help protect you from a large out-of-pocket expense.

Avoid barking up the wrong tree when choosing a breed of dog! Talk to your independent agent today to ensure you have the proper coverage in place.


Tips to Burglarproof Your Home This Summer

Men stealing laptop

Men stealing laptop

Summer has finally arrived! Between record snow storms, flooding, and hail, I thought it would never get here. Thankfully, vacation season is upon us but that means burglaries will inherently increase. Each year, there are more than 2 million burglaries, over 65 percent of which are residential break-ins, with the majority occurring in the peak vacation months of July and August. Furthermore, 9 out of 10 home break-ins could be prevented if homeowners would take simple steps to burglarproof their homes.

Here are some tips that can help you protect your home from burglary while you’re away this summer:

  • – Stop delivery of your mail and newspapers, or have a friend or neighbor pick them up for you.
  • – Keep bushes and shrubs well-trimmed and keep the outside of your home well-lit. Would-be thieves prefer not to be seen.
  • – Use timers on lights, televisions and radios to make it appear as if someone is home.
  • – Have your lawn maintained if you will be gone for more than a few days.
  • – Leave the air conditioner on; a silent compressor on a hot day is a good indication you aren’t home.
  • – Check with your local law enforcement agency. Many of them now offer a service where you can sign up to have an officer drive by your home and check on it during a regular shift…and it’s usually free!

Fire and water damage can also threaten your home while you’re enjoying your time away so be sure to take a few preventative measure to help protect your home from these perils:

  • – Unplug everything but the refrigerator, freezer, and the lights and radios you have set on timers.
  • – If possible, turn off the water to your sinks, toilets, dishwasher, washing machine, and hot water heater.

More than half of the U.S. population is planning a summer vacation away from home this year. If you’re one of them, be sure to follow these tips and you’ll be sure to have an enjoyable – and safe – summer holiday.

Source with permission to repost:

Insurance 101 – Water Damage Basics

You may not have realized that a standard homeowners policy does not cover all losses caused by water. Even if you have extended coverage, a loss caused by water may or may not be covered by your insurance policy. The source of water makes a big difference. Watch this video to learn more!

Insuring Your LLC-Named Home

Have you considered ways to protect your home beyond insurance? Are you concerned about planning for your estate? Have you considered your options for placing your home in either a trust or a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? [Read More]

Your home is deeded through an LLC and you can’t find anyone to insure it since it’s now considered a business property! A standard homeowners policy covers a person, not a business. And you can’t get a business policy since you don’t actually run a business from my home. Watch our video to learn more about LLC deeded homes and to find out how we can help!

Spring Into Safety with Loss Control

safetyI am sure most of us would agree that spring is such a beautiful time of year! Even though some of you may still be experiencing snow in your geographical regions, other areas are starting to show the early signs of spring, like the colorful heads of blooming flowers I’ve seen popping up around my home. So if you’re getting excited about emerging from your winter hibernation and trading in your winter coats and boots for shorts and sandals, you might also want to start thinking about your spring cleaning tasks. [Read More]

Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives

home fire facts

Man changing the 9 volt battery in a round white ceiling smoke alarm detector for fire safety.

Did you know roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires that occur when most people are asleep – between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.? Smoke spreads quickly, and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire […]

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Fire Prevention Tips For Your Home

fire prevention

Illustration of a smoke alarm sounding off in a smoky room

Now that fall is in full force and winter is slowly approaching, it is common to spend more time indoors. However, this actually influences the higher number of structural fires in the fall and winter. So, as these days become shorter and the nights colder, here are a few tips to help prevent fires this winter:

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