This is very surprising! I work for a major Canadian Insurer (I'm not going to mention which one, just incase anyone has a grudge against the company) and I've never heard of anything like these problems!?! I have asked several underwriters and claims handlers about this and they are unfamiliar with the situation.
Something you should all know is - you are NOT required to tell the insurance company anything they don't ask. Do not offer information. They (well, we, I guess) are not here to be your friends, they are here to make money. If you offer information that makes them suspect that you are a greater risk, they will not cover you.
Exception - must inform them about pets if:
1) they are dangerous to visitors (or the outside world if they escape)
2) you want to purchase specific coverage (aka Scheduled item)
3) There is a written exclusion of coverage in the policy (never heard of one excluding reptiles, but they do usually exclude damage caused by animals. This doesn't mean you won't be insured, but does mean that you are not covered by any damage caused directly by your animals)
- If you are asked directly and you lie, that is called "Non-disclosure" and gives the company the right to deny your claim.
- If you breeding and selling animals, you will be considered a business and must carry small business insurance. This is due to increased risk of liability, as you are dealing with customers. (As a hobby breeder, you should not mention that you sell animals as the company will try to make you buy a business policy)
- There is no coverage for damage done by animals to your house or property. (usually with the exception of building glass, i.e. bird flies into your window)
- There is no coverage for your animals (to replace them / vetrinary care) unless their deaths/injuries are caused by a specified peril (something that you are covered for. i.e. fire, etc...)
- If you build an addition onto your house for any reason, you must report this. (I don't think modifying a small room or walk-in closet counts unless you make structural changes)
- All internal wiring should be done by a licensed electrician (Although, I do most of my own. As long as it is done to code, it is pretty much impossible to tell who did it and when)
If you use Flexwatt and it causes a fire, you most likely won't be denied coverage. It will likely be deemed "faulty wiring", but coverage will still apply, as the product is deemed safe by countries with comparable safety standards (USA, UK). You may however be denied if it is caused by negligence (i.e. You used elec. tape instead of the recommended caps to cover the connectors; You have the heat-tape exposed to water; etc...)
If an insurance company denies you coverage for owning repiles, ask to speak to an underwriting manager. Underwriters write the policies. If the manager maintains their position, ask for it in writing. (with their reasoning) You may then enquire with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, whether this is a discriminitory policy. (It seems like it to me. Dogs, cats and birds are all capable of causing large amounts of damage, as well as injury. People buy custom aquariums that could burst if not assembled properly. etc...)
If you are worried about your current coverage, ask your insurance rep or broker for a copy of your "Policy wording" to check if there is any kind of exclusion. These are not overly complicated and you shouldn't have trouble understanding them.
If your house is subject to an inspection by the insurer, try to have it done before moving in. (Therefore the house is empty) If you have to have it done after, try to remove your pets to a different location during the inspection. If that is not possible, do not leave any questionable (non CSA-approved) electrical devices plugged in (or even in sight for that matter). Switch to certified clamp lamps (or similar) while the inspector is around.
And last - If you DO find a herp friendly company, they are probably a customer oriented company (Someone mentioned Pilot - Pilot has been near the top of the Claims satisfaction ratings for several years - they are known for customer service. Probably a good choice.) These companies tend to deliver personalized service & keep their customers happy. Stick with companies like this, as they are more likely to pay out any claims without a hassle. If you deal with a large company that is more interested in the "bottom line" ($$$), you probably won't mean as much to them and they are probably much more willing to let the (slightly) increased risk out-weigh the premiums.
PS - You CANNOT be denied car insurance for reasons associated with homeowners insurance. They are not related in any way. (except the fact that you usually get a discount for having both with the same insurer)
Stupid insurance. I also love how when someone hits you, your bill goes up. Makes tons of sense. lol
This is not true. If you are not at fault, your insurance DOES NOT go up. However, if you are deemed at fault in any way, your premiums WILL go up, even if you are found to be only 5% at fault. It does not matter what % you are at fault or how much damage was done. It is considered an "At fault" accident and your insurance will increase by a set % (based on your drop in driver rating)