Getting a new puppy, whether purchased or rescued, is an exciting moment. However, owning a dog of any breed entails new obligations regarding potential liability from injuries. Personal liability insurance, which is available through homeowners and renters policies, can assist cover against accidents that cause injury to someone on your property, including injuries and damage caused by pets. Nonetheless, some insurers are afraid of aggressive breeds such as pit bulls, chows, and german shepherds. To help you understand, we've broken down how owning pit bulls and other breeds affect your existing liability insurance coverage, as well as other options if you're denied coverage due to your pet's breed.
- Many insurance companies will not provide liability coverage for aggressive breeds or those with powerful bites.
- Michigan and Pennsylvania have rules that ban insurers from denying or canceling coverage based on the breed of your dog.
- Renters with service or emotional support dogs have additional rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act.
- Some insurance companies provide more dog-friendly plans than others.
- Consider umbrella insurance and dog liability insurance as alternatives.
Why Dog Breed Matters to InsurersAs a pet owner, you may be held legally responsible if your dog injures someone or causes property damage to people who are not residents of your home, whether the incident occurs at your home or elsewhere, and whether or not you are there. Fortunately, homeowners and renters insurance may cover the bill up to the liability limitations of your policy ($300,000 for many policies). Although most plans cover dog bites, some insurers exclude particular dog types and pets that have previously caused injuries. If your dog's breed is on the list, insurers may refuse coverage or raise your price. If you later acquire a dog that the insurance provider considers aggressive or high-risk, you must still notify your insurer; failing to do so may result in your coverage being revoked.
BackgroundDog mishaps cost insurers a lot of money, with businesses like State Farm paying out about $157 million in dog-related injury claims alone in 2020. 2 Pit bulls are frequently portrayed as aggressive dogs, yet this may be inaccurate. Other breeds may have a more outstanding bite and death rates than pit bull and Rottweiler varieties, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Furthermore, the AVMA stated that "based on this study, neither pit bull-type dogs nor Rottweilers can be deemed more 'dangerous' than any other breed." Nonetheless, the study found that those breeds contributed to more than half of dog-bite-related deaths over 20 years. The apparent contradictory messages haven't helped calm anxieties, and the study, according to the AVMA, has been utilized incorrectly to infer breed-specific risk for dog-bite fatalities. Your responsibility is to disclose any animals you have in your home, regardless of whether the agent or online quote procedure explicitly asks. Notifying your insurer of a new pet allows you to speak with your agent about how to protect yourself from dog-related liabilities.
Do Pit Bulls have coverage under homeowners and renters insurance?Pitbull owners may feel targeted by Insurance because many refuse to cover them. However, pit bulls are simply one of many breeds that insurers deem violent. While particular exclusion lists vary, many contain the following:
- Bulldogs of America
- Doberman pinscher puppies
- Shepherds from Germany
- The Great Dane
- Dogs of mixed breeds
- Pitbull breeds
- Canarios Presa
- Huskies from Siberia
- Wolf-wolf hybrids
Legal ExceptionsIn Michigan, insurers are prohibited from denying, canceling, or not renewing homeowners insurance coverage if you possess specific types of dogs. 7 In Pennsylvania, insurers are not allowed to cancel your coverage. Still, they can refuse to renew an existing policy if there is a documented "increase in hazard" caused by the dog. In New York and Nevada, insurers cannot deny or charge extra based solely on the breed of a dog. The Fair Accommodation Act protects renters with service animals of any breed: landlords cannot refuse you housing, collect deposits, or impose fees because you own service or support animals. The FHA requirements also apply to homeowners insurance companies. However, they may not apply to specific housing types, such as a four-unit building or a private club. These laws, however, are not always followed by home insurance carriers. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) filed a federal lawsuit against Travelers Insurance to enforce Fair Housing Act restrictions. The FHCO used testers who pretended to be people with disabilities and owners of pit bull assistance dogs. Travelers were used by the testers to obtain homeowners Insurance. Callers rejected insurance quotations in all four tests.
Pit Bull-Friendly Insurance OptionsIf you're having trouble acquiring liability insurance for your pitbull, here are several choices to consider:
- State Farm: When creating house or renters policies, State Farm Insurance does not ask for your dog's breed and is the top-recommended firm by BADRAP, a non-profit formed to support pit bulls.
- Instead, State Farm assesses risk based on the dog's bite history. USAA does not have dog breed restrictions, instead preferring to inquire about any previous aggressive behavior or bites to people or other animals demonstrated by the dog.