Dogs, Pools, and Trampolines – Insurance Issues

These are all wonderful things for us to enrich our lives with, but in the world of homeowner’s insurance, they could create some problems.

Let’s first talk about dogs. Did you know that insurance companies have lists of specific breeds that are on a watch list? If you have one of those breeds, it wouldn’t necessarily mean you can’t get insurance, but your insurance company may deny granting you a policy if you don’t have the answers they want to hear.

The breeds of dogs that are on the “restricted” list are (and in no particular order):
• Akita
• Alaskan Malamute
• Chow
• Doberman Pinscher
• German Shepherd
• Pit Bull Terrier (including Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier)
• Rottweiler
• Siberian Husky
• Presa Canario (also Dogo Canario, Canary Dog, Perro Basto, Verdino)

If you own one of these breeds of dogs, here is what your insurance company will need further information on, in order to determine if they will insure you:
 Is the property fenced?
 Has the dog been spayed or neutered?
 Has the dog bitten anyone in the past?
 Is the dog male or female?
 How old is the dog?
 How long have you owned this animal?
 Are there any toddlers residing at your property?

That last question may seem a little odd, but here’s the reason for it: When parents have young toddlers, the parents often invite other parents WITH toddlers over for play dates. The dog is familiar with the toddler that lives in the house but not with other toddlers that might be in Cujo’s territory and yanking at his ear or tail.

Swimming pools are a wonderful luxury to have. But with pools there is a higher potential for bad things to happen. The two main areas of concern are fences and diving boards.

If you have a pool, you must have a fence to prevent access to the pool from non-residents. This is now a building code requirement in all counties. For older homes, you should be mindful of not only this regulation, but your potential liability of having a pool someone could just walk onto your property and jump in.

Diving Boards were very common when I was growing up. Everyone that had a pool, had a diving board. The incidents of people getting hurt has made insurers cautious of insuring any homeowner how has one. If the home does have a diving board, pictures, pool depth, distance from the sides of the pool will all determine if your insurance company will issue you a policy.

Trampolines are obvious problems. They are fun – but dangerous. Insurance companies have a real difficult time getting an approval when there’s a trampoline on the property. My advice, is to pack it away, especially when it comes time for your agent to inspect the property. Trampolines are a magnet for fun. But you can take a minute to watch some “trampoline fails” on YouTube, and you’ll see why a trampoline should be avoided at all costs.