Pit bull owner denied house insurance because of dog
A Calgary woman says an insurance company wouldn’t give her house insurance because she owns a pit bull.
Lisa Rideout was shopping around for a better house insurance rate and called several insurance companies. After being asked questions by one company, the person on the other end of the line said she would get a call back. When it came, that call was to tell her the company was not interested in insuring her.
“Later on that day I got a phone call from her that said unfortunately we are unable to insure your house due to the fact that you have a pit bull,” she said. “There are three types of dogs that we do not insure, pit bull, German Shephard and rottweilers.”
Rideout said she was shocked because her 13-year-old dog Chico had never hurt any people or animals.
“For somebody to tell me that they are not going to insure my house because I own a dog, that is horrible, I don’t think that that is right, he hasn’t done anything, why judge him?” she said.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada says companies are within their rights to deny coverage because home insurance policies have to pay out for dog bite claims, even if the bite happen somewhere other than the home. Because the companies are private, they can set any policy they like.
“There is no legislation in Alberta banning pit bulls or regulating them being out in public like there is in Ontario,” said Lena Tityk, Rogers Insurance Brokerage. “They do look at whether an animal is deemed dangerous or whether the probability of a loss with a specific type of animal would happen, so they look at patterns of claims or liability issues.”
Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all home owner insurance liability claims paid out in 2012, costing more than $489 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute. There were 16,459 dog bite claims last year, with the average cost of settling those claims at $29,752.
Tityk says consumers should shop around as every company has its own tolerance level for the risk of dog bite.