Can a dog’s breed affect your homeowner’s insurance? Derby man says yes

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – A Derby man is urging people to read the fine print of their insurance policies after his homeowner’s insurance was cancelled.

Clint Schoenthaler said his insurance company cancelled his homeowner’s insurance policy because he didn’t follow all of the rules for owning a pit-mix.

“I thought it was absolutely insane,” Schoenthaler said.

Schoenthaler said American Family Insurance of Derby sent him a cancellation notice in September and October. The notice said in part: “One of your dogs is ineligible according to our present underwriting rules…”

The cancellation notice then goes on to say in order to continue coverage Schoenthaler must have veterinary documentation showing the dog is up-to-date on all annual vaccinations, has been spayed or neutered and should contact the agent about completing a K9 Medical History Form. It also states the yard where the dog spends time must be securely fenced so that the dog will not be able to escape.

KSN reached out to American Family Insurance on Thursday.

“American Family Insurance insures all types of dogs. That does include pit bulls, but with certain breeds, including pit bulls, we ask our customers to take additional measures to protect them and to protect their neighbors,” said American Family Insurance spokesperson Ken Muth.

KSN found it’s standard for many insurance companies to ask their customers to take additional measures for certain breeds of dogs. American Family Insurance has a section on its website dedicated to questions about dog ownership.

Schoenthaler said he was not made aware about the additional measures and was shocked to learn about them via a cancellation notice.

“I understand there is a stigma against pit bulls and that my dog looks a little bit like a pit bull, but she’s not, she’s a mix,” Schoenthaler said.

Schoenthaler said he tried explaining to the insurance company that his dog is vaccinated and he does have a fenced in pen. However, he said it didn’t work. His policy was cancelled, but then on Thursday afternoon he said his American Family Insurance agent called him and said his policy had been reinstated.

“They just told me that the policy was reinstated. They weren’t real clear on why, just that our dogs were no longer considered uninsurable,” he said.

Muth with American Family Insurance told KSN the company took a second look at Schoenthaler’s situation. He said agents went through pictures of Marley and ultimately decided that the dog is not a full breed pit bull and therefore he was not breaking any rules.

Muth said the insurance company provided Schoenthaler with quotes from other insurance agents before cancelling his policy. Schoenthaler said he did end up getting a new homeowner’s insurance policy from another company. He told KSN he is still debating what company to go with now.


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