While most homeowners insurance policies offer liability coverage to dog owners that covers dog bites and other dog-related claims, most insurance companies also exclude coverage for specific dog breeds or dogs that have been deemed dangerous, potentially dangerous, or a public nuisance.
According to the Insurance Information Institute’s Dog Bite Liability report, over one-third of homeowners insurance liability claims are related to dog bites, which cost more than $400 million per year with an average claim amount of $22,000.
Fortunately, dog owners have several solutions to obtain adequate coverage for their pet.
What is Considered a Dangerous Dog Breed?
Insurance companies often rely on the average number of bites by dog breed to determine if a dog is “insurable.” While the definition varies by insurance company, the most common dog breeds that appear on blacklisted or dangerous breed lists include:
- Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers
- Rottweilers (* Pit Bulls and Rottweilers together account for 60% of fatal dog attacks)
- Doberman Pinschers
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Great Danes
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
- Wolf hybrids
Many insurance companies also exclude liability coverage for dogs that have been deemed a public nuisance, dangerous, vicious, or potentially dangerous. Sometimes additional requirements are necessary to write a policy, such as behavioral training or muzzling.
Some states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, outlaw breed profiling, but most states allow insurance companies to blacklist owners of so-called dangerous dog breeds. Without coverage, dog owners are held liable for any lawsuits or bills if the dog bites someone, depending on the state dog bite laws.
Typical Homeowners Insurance Exclusions for Dog Bites
Homeowners insurance policies usually offer coverage for dog bites, including legal liability the owner incurs due to negligence. A standard policy may offer hundreds of thousands in liability coverage.
There are dog-related exclusions to a standard homeowners policy. Along with excluding coverage for dangerous dog breeds, many insurance companies have their own one-bite rule which means the insurance company will only pay for the first occurrence then cancel the policy or add a dog exclusion for any subsequent dog bites.
Most policies also require the insurance company be notified of major changes in circumstances. If the homeowner’s dog bites someone or is declared a dangerous dog under local law and the insurance company is not notified, the policy is likely to cover any subsequent dog-related claims.
Umbrella Liability Insurance Policy
One common solution for obtaining liability coverage for a dangerous dog breed is purchasing a personal umbrella liability policy. This type of insurance offers coverage for any excess liability over your underlying liability coverage (such as through your homeowners insurance policy). With this option, it’s important to be sure the policy does not exclude dog-inflicted injuries.
Canine Liability Insurance
A canine liability policy is written specifically for dog owners to insure dogs and owners who cannot obtain coverage otherwise for any dog-related injuries and damages. Sometimes known as dog owner liability insurance, a select number of insurance companies and brokers offer these specialized policies.
A separate liability insurance policy for your dog may be the only solution if:
- The dog has bitten or attacked someone,
- The dog has been declared dangerous under local law, which requires proof of liability coverage, or
- Local laws require owners of specific breeds carry liability insurance.
Getting adequate insurance for your canine, even if it is a blacklisted breed or has been declared dangerous, is not impossible, nor does it need to be expensive. Specialized dog owner insurance policies can offer the coverage you need to protect your pet and home.
Switching your wireless carrier may seem tempting, but you should think twice before you do it. One reason is that the grass isn’t always greener from one carrier to the next. Another reason is that you can most likely find a resolution for any problem that you may have. The following are some of the most common problems that consumers have with their wireless carriers and some alternative solutions that they use to resolve those issues. You may be able to use one or several of these tactics with your carrier:
Bad Reception or Data Quality
Call quality is the most important feature of having cell phone service. Data quality is important too because some customers use their mobile phones to connect their computers to the Internet and complete work tasks. If you are having a problem with reception, you can try a number of solutions before you throw in the towel. The first step is calling customer service and finding out if you live in an area that is a work-in-progress. The company may be working on the towers where you live, and that may be causing the problem. You may also want to speak with the phone techs who can lead you through an examination process to ensure that you don’t just have a malfunctioning phone. The solution for a malfunctioning phone problem could be a free replacement if you are under a warranty. The company may be willing to adjust your pricing if they are working on the towers in your area, and that is causing the problem. If not, they may be able to provide you with a signal enhancement device. Switching to an unknown carrier is not the best solution because that carrier may have some of the same issues that the one you left had.
Pricing Issues and Better Deals
Another common reason that people leave their mobile phone carriers is that they see a better deal ahead. Many consumers have broken up with their carriers because of competition bribery. Such people may have already been unhappy with an aspect of the pricing or some other aspect of the service. If you are unhappy with the pricing, you may want to contact your carrier’s customer service team and forge your complaint. You may find that the carrier has some plans in its back pocket that it doesn’t advertise to the masses, or you may find that the retention team is willing to provide you with an incentive to keep you from leaving.
Poor Customer Service or Uncomprehensible Agents
One of the most frustrating feelings in the world is to contact customer service and have to speak to a computer or someone that you do not understand. Resolving issues as quickly as possible is important to all customers, and such cannot be done if the customers can’t communicate with a service team. This issue may take a while to resolve, but you can still try to do so by speaking to someone about your concerns. If your provider allows consumers to send their suggestion in, then you may want to take the time to send yours.
Poor Phone Selection or New Phone
Maybe a new phone came out and your provider doesn’t carry it. Perhaps you just feel as though your carrier has a generally poor selection. What you can do is speak to a sales specialist about your needs and desires when it comes to cell phones. The salesperson may be able to find something that the company does offer that matches your needs. The salesperson may even introduce a model to you that you never thought would interest you.
Weak Features or Lack of Desired Features
Features are another reason that some people leave their carriers. Examples of desirable features that may cause a person to leave one carrier for another are mobile hotspot, international text messaging, music and more. The features may be so important to a person that the person is willing to switch carriers. You could speak to someone if you feel that way about some features. Perhaps your carrier will incorporate those features soon.
Don’t ever just quit with one carrier without trying to resolve the situation. Your carrier most likely does appreciate your business and may be willing to compromise with you to retain it.
Myths, facts, and your finances see to go hand-in-hand in many instances. With so many consumers drowning in credit card debt, the idea of debt consolidation seems great. It’s a way to keep your debts together in one payment while eliminating numerous interest rates and higher payments. You’ll have a smaller monthly payment, less money goes toward interest so you can pay off your debts faster, and you’re going to see a lot of improvement in a lot less time. The only problem with this is it’s not always the case. Debt consolidation isn’t always the best idea, and it’s not always what it seems. It’s time to get to know what debt consolidation really means, and how the truth will affect your financial future.
It’s Not a Solution
Debt consolidation isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s not a solution. If you consolidate with a no-interest credit card or a personal loan, you don’t affect your credit score too much. You do have a lower payment, you do have less interest to pay, and your debt can be paid much faster. The problem is many consumers see this as a solution and no longer consider themselves in debt as much as they were before they consolidated.
If you’re not willing to learn how to manage your debt or learn how to go into the future with more knowledge, this tends to be a catalyst that sends consumers into more debt. Now you have all these credit cards with no balance, and the temptation to use them becomes too great. You must be disciplined enough not to do that, and you must know how to close certain cards and why closing others is a bad idea.
If you stop to do the math when considering debt consolidation with a professional company, you often pay more than you do to just pay off your loan. The price is far higher in many ways. It’s helpful to look at the math. When a debt consolidation company offers you a lower payment for all your debts along with one interest rate, it does seem a lot less expensive. The problem is many people could pay off their debts a lot faster on their own than they can with a company. Even with a lower payment and interest rate, paying a debt consolidation company for a longer period of time means you’re paying significantly more for significantly longer. There’s no savings there at all.
The other problem with debt consolidation is many people don’t see how it affects their credit. If you choose to work with a company, it’s easy to assume you’re in good hands. The problem lies in being told to cease making payments while the company negotiates settlements with your creditors. You might end up with a lower payment and less interest, but you’re going to have negative remarks on your credit score. You now officially have late payments and missed payments. Those stay there for 7 years. Can you afford to have those marks on your credit for 7 years? They have a lasting negative effect on your credit, and they’re going to haunt your score.
If you want to pay off your debts by consolidating them, do it. Just remember to do the math and see if you’re really saving anything going this route. It’s helpful to take time to learn how to manage your debt without paying more and without falling back into dangerous financial habits. Can you afford to do that without creating more debt? Your job is to learn to manage your finances, stay out of debt, and create a brighter financial future.
The truth about debt consolidation is it works for some, and it doesn’t work for others. It’s not always a bad idea, but it’s not always a wonderful solution. Each consumer looking at debt consolidation as a financial option should consider all the factors and do the math to determine what it really means for their finances before they sign any paperwork or make any financial changes.
When you have a debt go into collection, it means that you have not been making the appropriate payments or responding to your lender suitably. Putting a debt into collection means that your lender wants to take additional action to secure the funds from you.
While you do not want your debts to go into collection, there are a few steps you will need to be aware of if it should. Knowing how collection works and what is expected of you when a debt goes into collection will ensure you come out in the most favorable position.
Your debt may go into collection if you have defaulted on a loan for three to six months. Your service debts, utility debts, credit card debts, medical debts, or debts owed to the government are the most common kinds of loans that will go into collections.
What Happens When a Debt Goes to Collection?
When a debt goes to collection, your lender is basically saying they are unable to get the money from you on their own. They may decide to turn your bill in to a collection agency or they may sell the debt to a buyer. The credit bureau will be notified that your debt has gone into collection, which can really hurt your credit score.
You will be notified that your unpaid bill has gone into collections. While you may hope ignoring the debt will make it go away, not responding to the notice could actually mean you will need to appear in court. If you’re hoping to wait for the statute of limitations for the debt to run out, you could actually end up being sued by the debt collectors.
If you are able, your best step is to pay off the debt in full. For small bills that maybe you’ve forgotten about, paying off the debt as soon as you’re alerted by the collection agency can end the process before it becomes an issue.
Another way to respond to the debt is to talk to the collectors about a repayment plan. If you have been unable to pay your debt because the monthly amount is too high, a repayment plan can help you stay on track with your payments and ensure the collection agency get the money they’re after.
It is important to keep in mind that collection agencies can be difficult to deal with at times. Because many agents work on commission, they may be rude or disgruntled if you’re trying to make small payments over a long period of time. This can mean many angry phone calls or harsh messages in your future.
To minimize the amount of time you need to deal with the collection agency, make your payments as high as you can manage. Try to save as much cash as possible toward the debt while you are negotiating so you can may a major chunk of it right away. Try a loan consolidation company to help matters.
Before you come to a final agreement, ask the collection agency to validate the debt. This means that they need to go through the process of proving that you actually need to repay the money and that the debt is valid. This extra step can prevent you from paying money on a debt that has expired or is incorrect.
However you choose to pay the collection agency, be sure it is in your own control. If you give the agency access to your back account or credit cards, you could run into the problem of them withdrawing too much. Once they have the funds, it can be nearly impossible to get back. Always stick to paying with a check if possible.
Know Your Rights With Collection Agencies
When a debt goes into collections, you may experience a mild level of harassment from the agency. While they may try to act like it’s acceptable behavior because you owe them money, you should know that you are protected from abusive, unfair, or deceptive behavior.
Know your rights when it comes to dealing with collection agencies and stick to them. If you believe your rights have been infringed upon, contact an attorney to speak with them about the process.