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5 Surprising Homeowners Insurance Facts and Savings Tips

Money Girl details 5 surprising facts about what affects homeowner insurance quotes, and reveals tips on how to save money, and how to prevent your premium from ballooning over time.

By
Laura Adams, MBA
7-minute read
Episode #386
5 Surprising Facts (and Money-Saving Tips) About Homeowners Insurance

Fact #4: Some Dog Breeds are Blacklisted

Dog bites make up a third of all liability claims - and the average cost of a bite is $30,000.

If you love your dog as much as I love mine, you may be surprised to know that your furry friend could cause problems with your home insurance.

Since coverage typically includes liability for all members of your household, including your pets, insurers are particular about which dog breeds they’ll insure - especially since dog bites make up a third of all liability claims, and the average cost of one is $30,000.

Large, powerful breeds may be blacklisted altogether, or cause you to pay an inflated home insurance rate. Some breeds most commonly excluded from coverage include:

  • Akita 
  • Alaskan Malamute 
  • Boxer 
  • Cane Corso
  • Chow chow 
  • Doberman Pinscher 
  • German shepherd 
  • Great Dane 
  • Mastiff
  • Pit Bull or Staffordshire Terrier 
  • Presa canario 
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian husky
  • Wolf hybrids

If your dog is blacklisted, consider buying a separate, inexpensive umbrella liability policy. You could get a $1 million of coverage for less than about $300 per year.

See also: Dog Bites and Home Insurance Claims (Video)

Fact #5: Not Everything Is Covered

While a standard homeowners insurance policy gives you many protections - such as coverage for the structure of your home, your personal belongings, loss of use, and liability - it doesn’t cover everything.

Policies often state that for something to be covered, it must be “sudden and accidental.” That means if you’ve had a leaky faucet that caused damage over many months, it probably won’t be covered, because you neglected proper maintenance.

However, even if they are sudden, some natural disasters are never covered and require separate insurance, including floods from ground water, and earthquakes. Additionally, mold and sewer backups are perils that may not be covered, unless you add them to a standard home policy.

If you have a home-based business—with customers who come into your home, special equipment, or inventory—that typically isn’t covered, and requires a separate commercial insurance policy. You’ll also need a different type of policy if you turn your home into a rental or vacation property.

Finally, certain types of expensive personal belongings have coverage caps. For instance, jewelry, artwork, computer equipment, silverware, and firearms might only be protected for $5,000 or $10,000. You should raise the coverage amounts for any special items you own to make sure your home policy pays out enough in the event of a loss.

More Savings Tips

There are many factors that influence how much you have to pay for homeowners insurance, so always ask your insurer about potential discounts. Also consider increasing your out-of-pocket deductible (if you have enough emergency savings to cover it), because that will help reduce your annual premium.

Shopping around for quotes is the best way to make sure you aren’t overpaying for coverage. Use a site like insuranceQuotes, USInsurance, or ExactQuote to shop and compare free home insurance quotes.

More Money Resources 

4 Major Disasters Homeowners and Renters Insurance Won’t Cover

Can Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance Save You Money?

Your Guide to Renters Insurance

Tips to Buy Life Insurance

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About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlersbook is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.