Kennel Insurance and Insuring Your Pet For Liability
I'm looking for information on kennel insurance. I (and most of my friends) live with and/or own several (or numerous) purebred dogs because we are involved in the sport of showing our dogs and occasionally breed a litter to help support our hobby. However, I am not a commercial kennel or business. My property is residentially zoned, my dogs are my family pets and I am definitely a "hobby breeder" as defined by the New York State Agriculture & Markets Law. I just own, love and live with several dogs of one particular breed.
As I am sure you are aware, many homeowners' insurance carriers are either refusing to cover people like myself or are requiring supplemental kennel insurance as part of agreeing to standard homeowners coverage. I finally found a company (Burlington) who offered kennel coverage, but unfortunately after 2 short years, the company decided to stop offering kennel coverage policies.
I know this is a rising problem all over the Northeastern US, because I have read articles about it in Dog Fancy and other dog-related publications. Also, I receive phone calls all the time from multiple dog owners asking me where people can obtain kennel coverage because, like my own experience, if they do not obtain this level of coverage, their homeowners' insurer will cancel them.
Do you know or can you be of any assistance in publishing a list of insurance carriers who will offer kennel coverage?
This is definitely a rapidly growing problem. It is often related to the breed of dog; fans of rottweilers and other so-called dangerous breeds are increasingly finding it difficult or impossible to find insurance.
Some good news: the American Kennel Club cites two states (MA and NY) are looking at new legislation that would prevent insurers from dicriminating against homeowners based on the breed of their dog. The argument is that the decision to cover should be based on the dog's deeds, not its breed.
However, since a dog previously "good" dog can suddenly bite, you'll have to expect that insurance rates for pets will go up across the board. The insurers will have to allow for a higher degree of risk in their insurance, if they can't exclude risk in other ways like discriminating against certain breeds.
There are 13 breeds which are generally deemed "higher risk" by insurers. These are:
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Pit Bull
- Presa Canario
- Siberian Husky
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Wolf Hybrid or Wolfdog
All of these dogs have been bred for characteristics that require an experienced dog owner who is committed to careful training.
As for a list of insurers that provide kennel insurance; as you note, these carriers change all the time. Your best bet for a list of insurers is to contact a breed association or kennel association such as the American Kennel Club.
I did find one insurer that specializes in insurance for "high risk" animals, including animals that have a blemished history. I would expect that the rates for this insurance would be fairly high, and you'd be better off checking out other options first. Having said that, you can find this kind of insurance through Lester Kalmanson Agency Inc. They do have a website at lkalmanson.com