The way many homeowner insurance policies work, if you have a certain type of dog at home, your coverage can be terminated because they’re considered too much of a liability. But American Family Insurance has taken the quite unusual step of canceling the policy of a county deputy sheriff near Omaha because of his live-at-home partner — Diezel, a trained police dog.
Under the county’s rules, officers in the K-9 unit must keep their dogs at home. In addition, the county is responsible for insuring the dogs — which means there should be no conflict with homeowner policies that prohibit certain breeds.
American Family Insurance notified the deputy that his coverage would be terminated after an on-site review of his home, where a worker saw his K-9 cruiser parked in the driveway, reports the Omaha World-Herald.
In a letter dated Oct. 15 the company wrote: “Due to the additional liability exposure of your police dog, we are unable to continue your homeowner coverage.”
The dog is a Belgian Malinois and again, is insured by the county. He lives in a large kennel with high fences and a concrete pad, says his human owner, and the pair of them have state and national certifications.
“This is infuriating that I’m getting dropped because of my profession,” said the deputy, claiming it comes down to bias against what he does for a living. “He’s my dog. He has to go home with me.”
An American Family spokesman says it’s not about bias, and the decision to cancel coverage was just based on the dog.
“It’s a big issue. Dog bites, or dog attacks, are the largest single cause of homeowners’ claims since the 1990s,” he said. The company restricts certain breeds, trained guard and attack dogs. Diezel is none of the prohibited breeds but counts as an attack dog, in the company’s view.
American Family says the deputy said Diezel would attack a person if they entered his yard, but the deputy denies that conversation ever happened.
The spokesman also added that he knows the county covers the dog but isn’t really sure what happened when it came to the county certifying that fact.
“I was told that they were going to send a letter and have the county sign it,” says the deputy of that plan of action, but instead he just received a cancellation notice. He’s taken his business elsewhere, and has procured a new insurance policy.