Did Santa Bring A New Pet?

This article was originally written by Sue Nester and published by Big I News.

The holiday season often includes images of cute puppies under a Christmas tree or a kitten with a sparkly ribbon around its neck. But before you do your holiday shopping at the pet shop, Trusted Choice® independent insurance agents and brokers recommend considering the risks and liabilities you may also be bringing home.

Many families have either given or received a pet as a gift, but unfortunately, most don't think about liability or risk factors of pet ownership such as higher insurance rates or the need for specialty coverage.

Remember to remind your clients about these points:

Sick puppy? It is important for pet owners to know that pet insurance is not suitable for everyone. These policies are non-regulated insurance products, so purchasers have no recourse through state insurance regulators if there is a complaint or problem with their coverage. In addition, many pet insurance policies exclude routine examinations, vaccinations and pre-existing conditions.

Is Fido a biter or a chewer? As a dog owner, you can be held financially responsible if your animal attacks and injures a person or property. That bite can also have huge implications for your insurance.

Most people are bitten by dogs they know, not strays, and medical costs for a severe injury can be staggering. Talk with your clients before they bring a new pet into their home to make sure they have adequate liability coverage and safety measures to protect people who visit their property.

What kind of dog is that? Many insurers are now routinely asking if homeowners or renters have dogs and if those dogs have a history of aggressive behavior. Some companies may even deny coverage to those who own certain breeds of dogs, including wolf hybrids, pit bulls and Rottweilers.

Insurance companies can deny claims or limit coverage for dog owners who do not take precautions to prevent their animals from attacking. Recommend at least $500,000 in liability protection for owners of large dogs or for those who own certain breeds.

How much was that doggy in the window? Pet owners must understand that no matter what they paid for their pooch—or any pet—most homeowners policies exclude any damage or injury to animals.

Cruisin' with canines. Some auto insurers include a pet clause, which allows for a certain amount of coverage for expenses relating to a dog's injuries if the driver is involved in an accident with a pet in the vehicle.

Beyond cats and dogs. Does your client's little princess want a pony? Or maybe your future farmer wants a baby goat? These types of gifts are not uncommon, especially with the popularity of state fairs, livestock competitions and youth agriculture programs.

Families who are considering the purchase of horses, goats, calves, pigs and other farm animals may want to consider livestock or animal mortality products that cover certain losses, including drowning and electrocution.


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