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Dog breeds that drive up home insurance rates

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

If you have a dog, then you understand how special pets can be. But many people don’t know that having a dog can impact your home insurance rate, and make it more difficult to get insurance. Everyone thinks their dog is well-behaved, but the reality is, dogs are a liability risk.

Roughly five million people are bitten by dogs each year, and the majority of those cases are children. Not only can dogs hurt others, but they can also cause serious damage to your home or someone else’s property.

Home insurance policies cover dog bites. However, certain dog breeds are considered higher-risk than others to most insurers. In this article, we’ll explain which dog breeds worry insurance companies, what to do if you’re denied coverage and how you can get insurance with a restricted pet breed.

Which dog breeds worry insurers?

Insurance companies are often concerned about dog breeds that are known to bite or cause liabilities. Typically, these are bigger dogs that can become aggressive. Below is a list of dog breeds that are often restricted on homeowners insurance policies: 

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • Chow Chow
  • Cane Corso
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Presa Canarios
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Wolf Hybrid

What happens when you have a restricted dog breed?

If you own a dog breed that is included on the list above or is restricted by an insurance company, it can have an impact on your homeowners insurance policy. Here is how it might affect you:

Premium increases

Owning a specific breed can raise your homeowners insurance premium. Because certain dog breeds are known to bite and create other liabilities, there’s a greater chance that you would need to file an insurance claim. Your insurance company raises your rate to compensate for that potential claim and payout.

Insurance exclusions

Homeowners that own certain dog breeds may be able to get regular home insurance coverage, but with exclusions. Insurance providers that use this approach will typically exclude liability insurance from your policy. This means if your dog bites someone, or tears up someone’s home, you would have to pay out-of-pocket for their medical expenses or home repairs.

Denied coverage

The worst-case scenario is that you could get denied insurance coverage because of the dog you own, especially if it has a history of aggressive behavior. Certain insurance companies have a strict policy on restricted dog breeds. Even if you have an existing policy and welcome a restricted dog breed into your family, your insurance company could refuse to renew your coverage at the end of the policy period. 

What to do if you are denied coverage 

If you are denied homeowners insurance because of your dog, there are ways to get coverage. Below are some tips that can help you obtain insurance and still keep your pet in the house.

Shop around

If your insurer restricts your pet’s breed, you could shop for a different home insurance provider that will offer you coverage. It’s possible to find another provider with more relaxed rules around certain dog breeds. While shopping, make sure to get multiple quotes to determine which insurance carrier is the cheapest.

DNA test

Another option is to DNA test your dog to verify their breed. It’s common to assume your dog is a certain breed because of the way it looks or acts. It’s also possible that the pet shop or shelter you got the dog from wasn’t positive about the dog’s breed. You can DNA test your dog at home, using kits available online. If the dog’s breed turns out to be different than you thought, you can submit the findings to your insurance company. 

Purchase additional coverage

You may be able to purchase additional insurance coverage to protect you from the liabilities you face as a dog owner. Many insurance companies sell dog liability policies that offer adequate coverage. Keep in mind that purchasing additional coverage will increase your premium, but there won’t be any gaps in your coverage.

Why are some dog breeds restricted by insurers?

Some home insurance companies restrict certain dog breeds because there is a greater chance of liability claims. Even the most well-behaved dogs can bite, and some dog breeds are likely to hurt someone. Additionally, dog bite claims are increasing every year.

If you own a dog on the restricted breed list and the dog bites your neighbor, you will file an insurance claim to pay for your neighbor’s injuries. It can become very expensive for the insurance company to pay every time a dog bites someone.

However, there are controversies surrounding restricted breed lists. Experts believe that it’s not ethical or accurate to determine how dangerous a dog breed is, based on their physical appearance. Dogs that aren’t on the restricted list could become aggressive and bite, and there’s no guarantee that a restricted breed dog will cause any problems.

Which homeowners insurance companies accept all dog breeds?

Insurance companies can deny coverage if you have a certain dog breed. However, not every company has a restricted breed list. The following insurance companies will sell insurance to anyone with a dog, regardless of the breed:

  • Amica
  • Chubb
  • Fireman’s
  • Nationwide
  • State Farm
  • USAA

However, these companies will still look into the dog’s history of bites and aggressiveness. So if your dog has bitten anyone, you can be denied coverage. On the other hand, if your dog has never bitten anyone or gotten aggressive, you should have no problem getting coverage from one of these providers.

The takeaway

  • Some insurance companies restrict coverage for homeowners with a certain dog breed.
  • Dogs can bite and become aggressive, creating liability risk for the homeowner and the insurance company.
  • If you have a restricted dog breed, you can still get coverage. Shop around for another provider, purchase additional coverage or consider DNA testing your dog.

You love your dog like family, so it’s frustrating when your dog’s breed makes it difficult to get homeowners insurance coverage. Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Chow Chows, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are all examples of dogs that are often found on the restricted breed list.

However, it’s still possible to get home insurance even if you have one of these breeds. You can shop around for a provider that doesn’t deny coverage based on breed or purchase additional coverage to protect yourself from pet-related liabilities.

Elizabeth Rivelli

Elizabeth is an insurance writer for coverage.com, where she covers insurance providers and reviews policies to help consumers find comprehensive and affordable coverage for every area of their life. She has more than three years of writing experience for top online insurance and finance publications.

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