Dogs are the most popular pet in the U.S. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 63.4 million households own at least one dog. Although dogs are man’s best friend, the old saying doesn’t apply to homeowners insurance. There are a number of dogs that homeowners insurance won’t cover because of the breed’s history of being aggressive.
If your pet is on the homeowners insurance dog breeds list and bites someone, your policy won’t cover you. It’s important to know which dog breeds homeowners insurance won’t cover while you’re shopping for insurance or considering adding a furry friend to your family — so there are no unpleasant surprises later.
Top dog breeds that insurers won’t cover
Some dog breeds are instinctively aggressive. They may be more prone to bite, therefore considered high-risk by insurers. A homeowners insurance dog list may vary by insurance company, but there are several breeds most commonly restricted.
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Great Dane
- Pit Bull
- Presa Canario
- Siberian Husky
If you own a mixed-breed dog or one that’s not on the homeowners insurance dog breeds list, you may still have trouble getting insurance coverage if your dog has bitten someone in the past.
What if your insurer won’t cover your dog
If your current insurance company will not cover your dog or is asking you to give away your pet before it insures you, there are alternatives.
- If your dog is a service dog, you may receive an exception from your insurer to cover your pet.
- Train your dog to get Canine Good Citizen certification from the American Kennel Club (AKC) to request an exception.
- Find an insurer willing to cover your dog.
- Ask your insurer to exclude your dog from the policy instead of canceling your insurance and find pet insurance that specializes in canine liability policies.
Insurance companies that don’t discriminate by breed
If you live in Pennsylvania, you’re lucky. The state prohibits insurers from discriminating against dog breeds. As for other states, consider the following dog-friendly insurers:
How does your dog impact your insurance rate?
Owning a dog breed on the list above will likely raise your insurance premiums. Dog bites often come with high medical bills and court settlement costs. The III reports that the average cost an insurance company had to pay out for dog bite claims in 2019 was nearly $45,000. Since many insurers believe restricted breeds are more likely to injure someone, they cover their risk by charging higher premiums.
Frequently asked questions
What happens if I don’t tell my homeowners insurance company about my dog?
Failing to tell your insurer about your dog or omitting the dog’s breed could land you in hot water if your pet bites someone. If you file a claim for an injury from a dog that’s not on the insurance policy, the company will not pay out the claim, leaving you financially responsible for all medical bills and court costs. Considering that the average claim paid in 2019 for a dog bite is almost $45,000, it’s best to be upfront about your dog or find an insurer willing to accept your restricted pet.
If my dog is mixed with the breed of dogs that homeowners insurance won’t cover, can I get insured?
If you have a mixed breed that may include a dog from the restricted dog list, your insurer may still not cover your pet. In fact, your dog may not be insurable if it’s bitten someone in the past, even if it’s a poodle or a labrador. It’s best to be honest about your pet’s history and breed ahead of time instead of finding out you’re not covered after you file a dog bite claim.
Can an insurer cancel my homeowners insurance if I get a restricted breed?
Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t required to insure everyone. They could cancel your homeowners insurance policy if you have a restricted breed from the homeowners insurance dog list. If you receive a notice from your insurer that your policy will be canceled, you could get an exception by showing your pet is a guide dog or has Canine Good Citizen certification. Otherwise, you’ll need to look for a new insurance company.