Category Archives: Pets

dogs & home owners insuranceIf you are considering adding a dog to your family, you might want to check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier before you do. Did you know that certain breeds of dogs may cause your insurer to deny you homeowner’s coverage?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bite claims account for one-third of all homeowner’s insurance claims nationwide, costing insurers $483 million in 2013.  As a result, insurers want to limit their risk.  Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability legal expenses, up to the liability limits (typically $100,000 to $300,000). If the claim exceeds the limit, the dog owner is responsible for all damages above that amount.

Some insurers do not ask the breed of a dog owned when writing or renewing homeowners insurance and do not track the breed of dogs involved in dog bite incidents. Once a dog has bitten someone, however, the animal is viewed as posing an increased risk. The insurer may then charge a higher premium, decline to renew the homeowner’s insurance policy or exclude the dog from coverage.  On the other hand, some insurers will question the homeowner or renter about the specific breed of dog that will be living in the home, and will charge a higher premium, exclude the dog from coverage, or refuse to insure the home altogether as a result of the breed housed in the home.  The breeds that have been “blacklisted” vary by insurer, but the breeds most commonly found on insurers’ so-called “bad dog” lists include Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Great Danes, Presa Canarios, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, Wolf Hybrids and Siberian Huskies, and may include mixes of any of these breeds.  Whether you agree with this designation or not, it’s an important consideration when selecting a pet and an insurer.

There has been pushback against these lists from animal rights groups, who view this as “dog profiling,” and object to the exclusion of certain breeds from coverage.  “Dog profiling legislation” is banned in only two states, however–Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Ten other states have pending legislation that would similarly prohibit companies from denying insurance to a homeowner or renter based solely on the breed of their dog.  These laws propose that insurance companies should only be allowed to deny or revoke a policy or to increase the premium based on the risk associated with a specific dog, meaning that the individual dog must have a known history of being aggressive or must have been officially designated as dangerous.  Massachusetts, however, is not among these states. In fact, Massachusetts has one of the strictest dog bite statutes in the nation, and is not likely to head in that direction.

Insurers argue, however, by the time the dog has bitten someone, and has therefore been deemed dangerous, there has already been a claim filed. That means that it’s already too late for the insurance company since they will have to cover the claim under the pre-existing unrestricted policy. The companies argue that the only way to reduce their financial risk is to ban certain dog breeds from coverage.  There are some insurers that do not use a banned dog list, and some other companies that will allow a household to be insured simply by excluding coverage for liabilities due to damage caused by a dog (i.e. having the homeowner/renter sign a waiver).

The takeaway is this: if you have a canine family member, or intend to add a dog to your family, be sure to understand the implications for your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance—know your coverage, and don’t be caught under-insured or uninsured.

Tedesco Carole headshotAbout the author: Carole LoConte Tedesco, a principal at Tedesco Law Offices, P.C., is a Woburn-based Attorney with twenty-two years of experience handling estate planning, estate settlement, and family law matters.  She is a graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University and Boston College Law School.  She also works with clients on probate and family law matters.  She is married to and practices with Attorney Robert W. Tedesco.  Their offices are located at 88 Main Street, Woburn, Massachusetts.  She can be reached at 781-933-9293 or via email at: cat@tedescolawoffices.com.   You can check out their website at: www.tedescolawoffices.com or find them on Facebook.  She is a dog lover, and can often be found with her two rescue pups, Daphne and Velma, under her desk.


I made plans to have dinner with one of my dear friends. We decided to meet at her place for Chinese food & lots of catching up.  When I arrived at her door, I was greeted by her roommate, a 65lb. pit bull name Blue. At first I was a little uncomfortable. Traditionally these animals get a bad rap. They are said to be vicious & can turn on you without notice. But this dog was different. He was calm, sweet, & all he wanted to do was give me kisses. I asked my friend where she got this wonderful animal & she told me she rescued him from a neglectful home. You can tell he is a very happy & grateful dog. This pit bull is no ordinary pit bull. He does not pose a threat to anyone.

Each year thousands of animals are abused & neglected. Blue is one of the lucky ones. Despite a rocky start in life, he now has a mom who loves him, & a very comfortable place to live. He spends his carefree days sleeping on a very cushy pillow, eating his favorite kibble, & playing with a very large chew toy.

pitbull

Adopting a rescue animal is a wonderful thing to do. When you rescue a dog or cat they never forget it. They become your friend for life. I have owned several, & they are sweet, loyal, & give unconditional love. They make the best pets & will become very special members of any family.  (Picture is of me giving Blue a Big hug!)                                                            

I learned a very important lesson that day. Not all pit bulls are created equal. If they are trained properly they make wonderful pets.

If you are thinking of adding a furry friend to your family, consider adopting. The shelters are full of animals that need loving homes.

sharonAbout the author:  Sharon Potts is a Realtor at RE/MAX Legacy. She can be contacted directly through her website at www.spotts.remax-newengland.com


Category: Pets
2012-12-10 19.38.51
Years ago, when I purchased my home in Woburn, I didn’t think about the possibility of having dogs nor did I care about which veterinarian or medical facilities were available for them.
Fast forward 10 years later and my home has been taken over by two lovable and adventurous  dogs, Eddy and Louie.  As I’m sure my fellow pet lovers and owners can attest, your priorities change a bit when these furry creatures are a part of your life.

 

2013-03-28 07.43.01A few months ago, my youngest dog Louie collapsed without warning and lay lifeless on my kitchen floor.  As I rushed to his side, he regained consciousnesses most likely due to my high pitched scream :)    You can imagine how concerned and traumatic this was especially since it was late in the evening and my vet was closed.

 

Thankfully, I live near the 24 hour Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital which I was able to rush him to and be seen right away. In retrospect, I lucked out! I had no idea that I would need such a facility when I purchased my home.  Louie is fine and back to his usual antics around the home.

 

eddyBeing in real estate, my new challenge to all my home buyers is “Don’t forget your pet”!  Sure things like schools, neighborhoods and area amenities are important but if you have pets, make sure you have the necessary care for them as well.
You can be sure that the next home I buy a property, much thought and consideration will be given to what is available for my dogs.

 

Here are some helpful links for dog/pet owners:
Find an American Animal Hospital Association certified hospital at www.aaha.org
Find a VCA Animal Hospital at www.vcahospitals.com
Find a Local Veterinarian at www.vetstreet.com

 

ant5 (1)About the author: Anthony Giglio is one of the broker/owners of RE/MAX Legacy and enjoys working with pet owners to find the perfect place to live. You can learn more about him or contact him directly on his website www.myhomeMA.com