Home insurance

Pet doors might oblige unwelcome guests

Wednesday, January 3, 2018by  Jon Osterberg

Dog exits house via pet doorA burglar who entered a Wenatchee home via a dog door and was caught Jan. 2 made me wonder: Are such break-ins common? And does insurance cover such thefts?

A quick Google search found some recent examples. On Aug. 7, a thief entered a home near Denver through a dog door and stole tools and a stereo before turning the dogs loose outside.

In June, a man entered a Texas home through a pet door and stole prescription medicines. Local police said entry through pet doors is "very uncommon" but cautioned residents that if you have a pet door, make sure it's the size of your dog and no bigger.

A man squeezed through an Albuquerque doggie door last May and stole a few thousand dollars' worth of electronics and prescription meds. He was arrested after being captured on video selling the stolen items at a pawn shop.

I checked with our senior Claims managers to see how often we've had policyholders burglarized by doggy-door thieves.

"In our experience, that's extremely rare," one manager said. "But I'm sure that in the vast sea of theft claims there have been some related to entry through a pet door."

He went on to say that theft entry is covered, regardless of the type of door accessed – wood, metal fiberglass, canine.

ITiny white fluffy dogs sits inside teacupf you're considering installing a pet door, however, first check your local building codes. If you punch an opening through a solid firewall that's designed to stop flames, you might be inviting trouble.

There also are practical considerations like energy loss, and whether the door is low enough you'll unwittingly invite rodents or other critters.

One Claims manager, Kevin, had an afterthought and added this tongue-in-cheek speculation as to why dog-door thefts are so rare.

Huge dog straddles atop a man"The dog door for the dog on the right, top, would be too small for any thief to enter," he said.

"The door for the dog on the right, bottom, would be big enough for any thief to enter, without ducking. However, any thief dumb enough to do so would be consumed and never heard from again."

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