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Recently in Zanesville, Ohio, a man released more than 50 wild animals before
committing suicide. This brought the issue of people owning wild animals to the
forefront of people's minds—and, of course, brought the coverage issues to the
minds of insurance professionals.

If a homeowner owns a tiger, for example, and that tiger gets loose and attacks
a neighbor, is there coverage?

   While one might think that surely owning
   wild animals would be excluded on your
  standard homeowners policy, you would
  be wrong. There is no liability exclusion
  for any particular type of animal, be it a
  domestic dog or a wild tiger.
  The policy  provides medical payments
  for injury caused by an animal owned by
  or in the  care of an insured. So you could
  even be walking the neighbor's tiger for
  him and,  if the tiger attacks someone,
  your  insurance would pay the medical
  bills.
  Damage to property of others is
  covered so that if your tiger snacks on the
  neighbor's dog, that is covered as well.

But what if the state has laws against owning such wild things? Is coverage
excluded then?

Believe it or not, there is no exclusion for illegal acts, other than the use, sale,
manufacture, delivery, transfer or possession of a controlled substance. Lions,
tigers and bears are not controlled substances.

Lions and tigers are the big examples of exotic pets, but there are plenty of
reptiles that either escape or are released into the wild that cause havoc. It's
impossible to track down the owner of a released snake and hold him liable,
but what do you think about owning exotic pets? Should you be allowed to
have an honest to goodness "big cat" instead of just an inordinately chubby
housecat? What do you think about owning exotic pets and the fact that they
are automatically covered under your homeowners policy?

Huff Insurance in Vancouver Washington has been providing Homeowners
insurance since 1948, we will review any current policy for proper protection,
not all companies guidelines are the same.

Story provided by Christine G. Barlow, associate editor at FC&S Underwriters.


 


 

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