Risky Business: “Dangerous” Dogs & “Attractive Nuisances”

Insurance, by its very nature, is about risk: the likelihood that an insured event will occur, requiring the insurer to pay a claim. An insurance premium reflects many factors about the individual as well as how great the risk. Of course, some risks are greater than other risks.

Two common areas considered risky business for insurance are “dangerous” dogs and something called “attractive nuisances.”

“Dangerous” Dogs

Some insurance companies maintain a list of dog breeds that they consider dangerous based on past claims or popular perceptions of breeds. These breeds include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Huskies, Chows, Boxers, and other breeds with potentially aggressive behavior.

Dogs bite more than 4.5 million people every year, and more than 50 percent of dog bites occur on the owner’s property. Many bites require medical attention – which could mean claims against homeowners’ liability policies.

If you own one of these blacklisted breeds:

  • You may be denied or limited insurance coverage by an insurance company.
  • You may pay more for insurance coverage.
  • You may be required to carry additional liability insurance.

“Attractive Nuisances”

“Attractive Nuisance,” a strange but accurate name, refers to an object, structure or condition that is both dangerous and irresistibly inviting or intriguing to children.

The most common of these are swimming pools and trampolines, but they also include treehouses, playground equipment, fountains and ponds, abandoned cars, and old appliances. Other child-attracting nuisances include railroad tracks, farm equipment, construction sites, power lines, and holes.

A property owner can be held responsible for a child injured due to an attractive nuisance based on the following criteria:

  • The owner has knowledge that children may trespass on the property.
  • An object or condition has the ability to cause harm or death to children.
  • The child/children harmed are too young to understand the dangers.
  • The cost to repair or maintain the attractive nuisance is small.
  • The property owner failed to take reasonable action to eliminate the nuisance.

It is your responsibility as a property owner to know what kind of dangers exist on your property so you can eliminate or remove them, such as maintaining a fence with a locked gate if you have a pool.

Even if you take precautions regarding a pool or trampoline, you will still have increased risk, which will likely result in higher homeowner’s insurance premiums or denied coverage. It is highly recommended that you raise your liability coverage and purchase an umbrella policy for additional protection.

Your Howard Hanna Insurance Services agent can advise you regarding risks that may affect your coverage.

It’s important to be upfront when obtaining coverage, as future claims may be denied if your insurer is unaware of risky conditions.

* Examples are for general information only. Please consult your insurance advisor for details about policy coverage, limits and deductibles.

At Howard Hanna Insurance, we’re committed to protecting what matters most to you. Learn more today: HowardHanna.com/Insurance

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412-696-0310

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