You might bring a dog into your home for many reasons. Perhaps you want a pet, a good guard dog, or a combination of the two. Whatever the reason, you’re getting ready to adopt a dog. You’ve already picked out where you’ll place their kennel and how you’ll feed and walk them.
Are you forgetting anything?
We’ll bet you haven’t thought about your property insurance. After all, what does that have to do with a cute, cuddly puppy?
The answer is more important than you think. What if you adopt one of the dog breeds that homeowners insurance won't cover?
In this article, we’ll look at homeowners insurance dog breed restrictions and how they might affect you.
Homeowners' insurance usually incorporates liability cover. If your dog bites someone or damages their property, the insurer should pay:
Insurers ask questions about what dogs you have to assess their risk more accurately. The greater the chance that the dog will cause severe damage when it bites, the higher the risk of liability issues. With particularly aggressive breeds, they’ll load your premiums or decline cover altogether.
There are some dog breeds homeowners insurance will never cover. If the breed has a reputation for being vicious, like pit bulls, the company may feel that the risk is too high.
Even a dog-friendly homeowners insurance company will think twice about aggressive or power breeds. With these breeds, there’s a higher risk of the canine biting someone and inflicting serious harm.
A Schnauzer, for example, might nip your hand and break the skin. A Rottweiler, however, is powerful enough to crush the bone.
The breed’s attack style also comes into play. Dogs that clamp onto their prey, like Staffordshire Terriers, are more dangerous. Once they lock on, it’s challenging to get them to let go of their prey.
Having one of the dog breeds banned by insurance companies increases your risk profile. Insurers willing to underwrite policies covering these animals increase your premiums because there’s a higher possibility that you might claim. If you don’t inform the company that you have a “banned breed,” they’ll decline any claims if your pet bites someone.
They might also use it as an excuse to cancel your policy.
The list of uninsurable dogs may differ between states, municipalities, and insurers. It’s crucial to check the breed restriction list with the insurance company first. They’ll typically adhere to federal and local guidelines.
Also, confirm any dog breed restrictions by state and your town’s bylaws. If you live in an apartment complex or gated community, also check what their rules state. They may enforce dog breed restrictions carefully to limit their liability.
As a general guide, the dog breeds that homeowners insurance won't cover typically include:
In determining which dogs to ban, insurers must consider the number and size of potential claims. In the case of aggressive dog breeds, they take on more risk by insuring your home. Some companies aren’t willing to take the chance.
Generally, however, insurance dog breed restrictions are there for a good reason. The breeds are not only more likely to bite someone or something but also more likely to inflict serious damage.
Dogs with a high prey drive, like Doberman Pinschers, are also more likely to attack someone or something they perceive as weak.
As a personal example, our neighbor’s Dobermans once got out of their yard. A woman was walking past and was clearly nervous about them. They started to sniff at her, and she began to run. This activated their prey drive, and they were on her in seconds.
We managed to rescue her, but her injuries were severe. If no one had stepped in, the dogs would have killed her.
With homeowners insurance, dog breeds are excluded because they’re potentially dangerous.
It’s not just power breeds that may make the list of dog breeds homeowners insurance won't cover. Insurers may exclude animals with a history of biting or aggressive behavior too.
They may provide you with coverage on the condition that you sign a waiver when your dog bites someone.
The company will usually also decline claims if your dog damages your property in some way. If the dog, for example, damages a door by chewing on it, you’ll be liable for the cost of repairs.
Different insurers may have a slightly different risk assessment process. In addition to the power breeds and dogs listed above, the insurance may increase if you have large dogs.
The insurer often categorizes dogs by their average size. A Golden Retriever, for example, is far larger than a Yorkshire Terrier. While the latter animal is more likely to snap at someone, the Retriever can do more damage if they bite.
Outside of the blacklisted dog breeds, your insurance may increase your premiums if you claim for bites or damage to property.
If the company provides an aggressive dog breed list, it is usually contingent on telling them about your dog upfront. It’s tempting to fib a little to get lower premiums, but this will cost you in the long run.
If you have to claim for bites on your home insurance, dog breeds that you didn’t list will invalidate the claim. The insurer is perfectly within their rights to decline claims if you weren’t 100% honest on your application.
If you get a “banned” puppy after taking out your policy, you should contact the insurance company. The increase in premiums is slight compared to the potential claim if your dog bites or kills someone.
You may feel that your dog is placid and would never hurt anyone. Before becoming complacent, however, ask yourself what your pet will do if someone attacks you or breaks into your home. While you have a right to protect yourself and your property, it’s not inconceivable for the criminal to claim innocence. Even if they were in the wrong, they might sue you for the injuries.
The following companies don’t discriminate by breed at the moment:
It’s a good idea to check with the particular company when applying, as things may change.
The list also depends on what state you reside in. In Pennsylvania, for example, insurance companies may not discriminate against you because of the type of dog you have.
Instead, they must determine risk on a case-by-case basis.
Some companies specialize in coverage for banned breeds. These companies won’t, however, cover a dog that has a history of biting or causing damage.
Say, for example, that you have a Maltese Poodle, and you’ve claimed against insurance because it attacked someone. The insurer may adjust your policy to exclude future claims.
No insurer will cover dogs that are banned by city ordinances or any other laws.
Yes. Allstate dog breed restrictions include:
Progressive home insurance dog breed restrictions are similar in nature. The same list also applies to Travelers dog breed restrictions.
There are no State Farm Insurance dog breed restrictions. The company states that, under the right circumstances, any dog can bite someone. There are also no USAA dog breed restrictions or Liberty Mutual dog breed restrictions.
It’s important to remember, however, that even if you have homeowners insurance that allows rottweilers and other banned breeds, you could lose your coverage after a claim. The companies that don’t discriminate will usually terminate policies if your pet establishes a history of aggression.
Sometimes, although this breed is usually on the restricted list.
Specialist policies are inexpensive and start at around $10 a month. Coverage usually ranges between $10,000 and $300,000. The insurer may adjust the premiums or limit the payouts for restricted dog breeds for insurance.
What’s the solution? If you think that your pet is on the list for insurance dog breed exclusions, shop around. Look for either specialist liability cover separate from your home insurance, or find homeowners insurance without dog breed restrictions. The advantage of stand-alone pet insurance is that it includes wellness care.
It will be as long as you are honest in your application. The personal liability portion of the coverage deals with the medical bills and civil claims of the person your dog bit.
Renters insurance companies take the same risk as everyone else. They may place limitations on coverage to manage their risk.
You’re responsible for your dog, no matter whether the visitor is lawful or unlawful. If the dog’s behavior is contrary to what a well-behaved animal would do, you may be held liable for damages.
In many states, yes. The company has a right to protect its interests. However, some states now take the line that insurers should base their decision on the history of each specific dog.
You may need to specify the type of dog you have to receive full coverage. If you don’t, the insurer may decline claims in the future.
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