OKLAHOMA CITY – You might not know it, but your furry friend with the wet nose could have some big implications for your insurance policy, depending on the type of breed of dog.
“Different companies do have different exclusions on their policies. It’s so important that you read your policy and find out exactly what it says,” said Denise Johnson, president and chief executive officer with Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, a state association for agents or brokers that represent more than one insurance company. “Many policies have endorsements or exclusions that are going to exclude a certain type of dog or even the behavior of a dog."
That could mean a certain breed of dog won’t be covered by your insurance company.
Other companies have policies where they won’t write a policy if your dog has had an incident in the past – no matter the breed.
“Every policy is going to be different. We can’t just make a blanket statement and say, okay, all policies exclude a certain dog or a certain breed,” Johnson said.
Additionally, legal experts said, if your dog were to bite or attack someone, you may not be immune from possible criminal or civil charges.
“When the owner (knows they have an animal that is dangerous), they have a duty to protect the public,” said attorney Garvin Isaacs.
Isaacs said, in a dog attack or bite case, prosecutors will determine if criminal charges are appropriate.
Criminal cases require a higher burden of proof – not so for civil cases.
“In a case where you have a dog that is owned, that causes an injury, there would be no strict liability,” Isaacs said. “It would be negligence for the owner not to maintain custody or control over that animal to protect the public.”