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My home insurance company says it will not renew my policy because my dog's crossbreed is on the company's list of breeds it does not insure. Where can I find home insurance without giving up my dog?

You'll need to shop around for home insurance. Get home insurance quotes from several companies, or work with an independent insurance agency -- one that works with a variety of insurance carriers. A savvy independent agent should know which companies are most likely to provide coverage in your case.

Although there is no official blacklist throughout the industry, breeds that raise red flags for some insurers include pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chows, German shepherds, Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Doberman pinschers, Presa Canario bulldogs, Great Danes, boxers, Akitas and wolf-hybrids.

Other companies will offer dog owners coverage but require them to sign liability waivers for dog bites. Or, a company may charge more for liability protection for breeds with aggressive reputations. Other companies will offer coverage, regardless of the dog's breed, or provide coverage if the pet has taken obedience training or passed the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test.

Once you have home insurance, take steps to prevent your dog from getting into trouble. Make sure your pet is secured and never in a situation where it could be provoked. Take the dog to obedience training if you haven't done so already.

Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of home insurance liability claims in 2010, and cost insurance companies $413 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The average dog bite claim was $26,166 in 2010, up from $24,840 in 2009.

For more, see Home insurance for dog owners.

Last updated: Mar. 1, 2012
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