Homeowners Insurance and Dogs

Homeowners Insurance and Dogs

Homeowners insurance and dogs don’t always get along.  Policies typically cover dog bite liability, a risk that insurance companies try to avoid. Some charge more for certain breeds and others will charge more (or cancel coverage) for dogs with a history of biting.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are the breeds with the greatest frequency of bites:

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Husky
  • Malamute
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Great Dane
  • Saint Bernard

Many insurance companies also blacklist:

  • Siberian Huskies
  • Crane Corsos
  • Mastiffs
  • Wolf hybrids
  • Akitas
  • Presa Casario

These are the most likely breeds to be on an exclusion list.  Insurance companies argue that their lists come from experience and actuarial tables.  Some states have restricted the use of dog breed blacklists.  I suppose, if you own one of the blacklisted breeds, you wouldn’t want it to interfere with your insurance rates, but the flip side is that if all breeds are allowed, all policy holders need to share the cost of the added risks.

Insurance companies argue that there are some 40 million plus households in the US with dogs and 4 1/2 million people are bitten each year.  One in 5 of these requires medical attention and the average dog bite claim is $29,000.That comes out to $470 million a year.

Of course the dog owners argue that their Fifi wouldn’t bite anyone!

It’s not just dogs that insurers don’t like.  If you own an exotic pet like an ape or an alligator, or an unusual domestic pet like a potbellied pig check with your insurance company.