If You Own One of These 5 Dogs, Your Insurance Premiums Could Skyrocket. Here’s Why
Did you know that the breed of dog you own can impact how much you pay for renters and homeowners insurance? Dog breeds deemed “dangerous” by homeowners associations, property managers/landlords, and even municipal governments can increase your insurance rates. In extreme cases, breeds on the “dangerous dogs list” can even disqualify you from living in certain buildings and neighborhoods. Unfortunately, there are also some dog breeds that insurance companies refuse to cover at all.
But, why would an insurance company even care what kind of dog you own?
When you have homeowners or renters insurance dog bites—where your dog has bitten another person or animal—are covered by the insurance company. Dogs considered a “high risk” for bites can either increase the cost of your monthly premiums or disqualify you from receiving dog bite coverage.
Dog Breeds Not Covered By Insurance At All
Almost all major homeowners insurance providers in the US have chosen to outright ban certain breeds from being covered by their policies. Of 42 insurance providers surveyed by Forbes earlier this year, 100% banned these three breeds:
Who decides which breeds to ban? Unfortunately, breeds commonly banned or restricted by insurance agencies are also the most commonly stereotyped and misunderstood breeds. Pitbulls have been labeled aggressive for decades, despite plenty of evidence to show that Pitbull-type dogs are not more aggressive than other breeds.
Unfortunately, dog bites and dog-related injuries by breeds like Pitbulls, Dobermans, and Rottweilers are over-reported, and bites by breeds like Poodles, Labradors, and Chihuahuas are under-reported. This combined with societal bias has fueled discriminatory policies and breed-specific legislation, making it even more difficult for these breeds to find good homes.
5 Breeds of Dogs That Increase Homeowners Insurance
Individual insurance companies have full control of their breed-specific policies and “dangerous dog breed lists,” and can use their discretion when deciding which breeds to cover, and which to charge more for. You’ll need to check specifically with your insurance company to find out what their dog breed policies are, but if you own one of these five breeds, chances are very good they will be labeled a “liability,” and you will be charged higher premiums.
In some cases, these breeds may only be accepted if you can prove that your property is adequate to house the dog—for example, some insurers may require you to have a fenced-in yard with a locked gate. Dogs with a bite history may also be required to follow specific rules or be denied coverage.
Here are five breeds that almost always increase your insurance rates.
Originally bred to be guard dogs and bear hunters, Akitas were created to be fierce from the beginning, and they have never escaped their fearsome reputation. Most often reported for dog-on-dog aggression, Akitas can be wonderful dogs for the right people but do admittedly prefer to be the only dog in the family.
2. Chow Chows
Like Akitas, Chow Chows are often confident, self-assured dogs who may act independently if they feel threatened or disrespected. Highly protective of their humans, the intense loyalty displayed by this breed can be misinterpreted as aggression or reactivity.
3. German Shepherds
Perhaps best known in the U.S. as working dogs and police dogs, German Shepherds are both revered and feared for their athleticism, focus, and intelligence. Unfortunately, German Shepherds are an overrated dog breed, meaning their popularity has landed many individuals of the breed in inappropriate homes. Most people aren’t prepared to meet a German Shepherd’s needs, which can lead to them being anxious, reactive, and neurotic.
High energy and easily bored, Huskies are often restricted due to their perceived ability to do physical damage rather than aggression. Like German Shepherds, new Husky owners are often unprepared for the enormous exercise and mental stimulation needs of this breed. Bored Huskies can be vocal, destructive, and difficult to keep calm.
5. Wolf Dogs
Wolf Dogs are a controversial subject not only amongst insurers but also in the world of dog lovers. While standard dogs are rarely aggressive purely because of their breed, it is 100% true that Wolf Dogs have a higher prey drive than domestic dogs, which makes them a greater bite risk.
How To Find Pitbull-Friendly Homeowners Insurance
Thankfully, there are insurance companies offering homeowners and renters insurance that covers Pitbulls and other commonly excluded breeds. Some of these companies still charge higher rates to cover so-called “dangerous breeds,” but won’t deny you coverage simply because of the breed of your dog.
To find insurance companies that serve your area, try searching for “Pitbull-friendly homeowners insurance” followed by your location. There are also a handful of large national insurance providers who welcome Pitbull (and other “dangerous dog”) owners.
Allstate allows coverage for Pitbulls, Dobermans, and Rottweilers under their renters and homeowners insurance policies, but they do believe that breed can predict behavior. Because of this, Allstate may charge higher rates for “dangerous” or “muscular” breeds, but won’t turn you away if your dog has no bite history.
Like Allstate, Nationwide covers Pitbulls and similar breeds but may increase rates for owners of these breeds. Nationwide also does mention that “coverage could depend on the breed of your dog,” in their homeowners insurance FAQ, so some policy coverage may be at their discretion.
One of the largest insurers in the US, State Farm makes its position on breed discrimination clear: “State Farm does not ask what breed of dog is owned when writing Homeowners or renters insurance. Just like humans, dogs are individuals. Every dog has a unique personality. While a dog’s breed may dictate what the dog looks like, how a dog reacts to people or situations isn’t guaranteed by breed or type. Most bites or serious injuries are a perfect storm of situation and circumstance.”
We agree! A dog’s breed doesn’t determine their behavior—and most dog bites are the result of a preventable situation.
USAA has no breed restrictions and does not mention breed or dog type when discussing what isn’t covered by homeowners insurance. Considered one of the top insurers for Pitbull and large dog owners, but like most insurers, they will consider bite history when setting rates.
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