Majority of homeowners insurance policies cover dog bites unless explicitly stated in the policy exclusions. Your homeowner’s personal liability section will cover medical and legal expenses if your dog bites someone or causes damage to someone’s belongings while they’re on your property. However, insurance companies exclude certain dog breeds from coverage. If you own a dog, it’s important to know whether or not your homeowner’s insurance excludes coverage for your breed.
- Dog bites are covered under your homeowner’s personal liability section
- Homeowners’ insurance excludes certain dog breeds from coverage
- Certain dog breeds are restricted by city ordinances
- Your premium will vary based on the dog’s breed, size, location, and past bite history
Dog Breeds Excluded From Homeowners Insurance
Certain dog breeds carry significant risk for insurance companies as they seen as “dangerous” and make up a large portion of all dog bite claims. As such, certain dog breeds are excluded from homeowners insurance coverage. This isn’t always the case with every homeowner’s insurance company. Some may cover dangerous dog breeds and simply increase your insurance premium. However, some insurance companies will completely exclude certain breeds.
Below are the most common dog breeds excluded from homeowners insurance coverage:
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Any wolf breeds
- Chow chows
- Doberman pinschers
- German shepherds
- Great Danes
- Pit bulls
- Presa Canarios
- Siberian huskies
- Staffordshire terriers
Generally speaking, dogs of a certain size and aggression levels are commonly excluded from homeowners insurance coverage. This is because they have the highest probability of causing harm to others and represent a high portion of dog bite claims. It’s all a matter of risk for insurance companies.
If you notice that your dog’s breed is excluded from coverage, you can look for a dog-friendly insurance carrier willing to work with you. In most cases, your insurance company will extend you the right to purchase supplemental insurance which will cover your dog’s breed. Your homeowner’s personal liability section covers medical and legal expenses.
Important Note: It’s important to carefully read your bylaws if your house is under a homeowners association. Certain neighborhoods may have their own exclusions as well as requirements for insurance coverage when it comes to certain dog breeds.
When Are Dogs Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance
In addition to dog breed restrictions, insurance companies will not cover dogs who have a history of biting or causing damage to personal property. Below are other instances in which insurances companies will deny coverage for dogs.
- Past history of biting
- History of property damage
- Personal injury to you
Past history of biting
If your dog has a history of bite claims, there’s a likelihood that your insurance company will deny coverage. If your dog is excluded from coverage and happens to bite someone, the insurance company will not cover any medical expenses or legal bills as a result of a bite. If you know your dog is aggressive, be cautious.
History of Property Damage
If your dog has a past history of causing property damage to personal assets, the insurance company may not exclude your dog from coverage. For example, if your dog damages your couch, carpet, or drywall, the insurance company will not cover those damages.
Personal Injury To You
Your homeowner’s insurance policy covers injury caused to another person (personal liability coverage), and will not cover your medical expenses if your dog bites or injures you. If you file a homeowners insurance claim, your insurance company will deny it.
Dog Breed Restrictions By City Ordinances
Not only will some insurance companies exclude certain dog breeds from homeowners insurance coverage, some municipalities completely prohibit citizens from owning certain dog breeds. For many years, Ohio was the only state in the country with breed-specific legislation at the state level. Nowadays, certain states allow local municipalities to make the decision on dog-breed restrictions. Check out the list of states with breed-specific restrictions and ordinances.
Depending on your city’s ordinance rules and regulations, your dog breed may be prohibited. Certain state ordinances permit municipalities to adopt breed-specific ordinances. The most commonly prohibited dog breed is Pitbull. So, before your move into a specific city or county, make sure you are familiar with whether or not they restrict certain breeds of dogs.
Dog Friendly Insurance Providers
Although most traditional insurance companies exclude certain dog breeds from coverage, homeowners have alternative options which typically come at an increased cost. Below are dog-friendly insurance companies for high-risk breeds:
The cost of coverage for your breed will vary based on the breed, size, location, and whether or not your dog has a history of bite claims.
If you happen to rent an apartment or home, you will have to get renters insurance. Standard renter’s policies are similar to homeowners insurance when it comes to dog breed exclusions. If your dog breed is excluded from coverage and you live in an apartment you can purchase an umbrella policy.
An Umbrella Policy for Coverage
The umbrella policy may provide coverage for your dog breed. It’s an additional liability coverage option built on to your existing policy as a “rider” and comes with an extra cost. Umbrella policies do not guarantee coverage for your dog breed.
Canine Liability Insurance for Coverage
If you can’t find an umbrella policy to cover your breed, you can shop around for canine liability insurance. This is a separate insurance policy in addition to your renter’s policy. Canine liability insurance provides coverage if your dog bites or attacks another person. This is an option for renters who have restricted breeds and can’t get coverage through an umbrella policy.
Below is a list of canine liability insurance providers:
The cost for a canine liability policy will vary based on your breed, size, location, and past history of bite claims.
Why Do Homeowners Insurance Companies Enforce Breed Restrictions
Homeowners’ insurance companies use an extensive set of data points to determine your insurance premiums. If they assess that your dog’s breed carries significant insurance risk and has a high probability of resulting in a claim, they can exclude the dog from coverage.
Not all insurance companies consider your dog’s breed when deciding your rate and coverability. However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that certain breeds can carry a higher risk for insurance companies based on past data.
Insurance companies want to extend coverage with a rate that matches the likelihood that a dog is to cause damage. As such, if they do extend coverage for your breed, there’s a high likelihood that your premiums will be higher.
Now that you know the dog breeds excluded from homeowners insurance coverage, you know what you can expect if your pet falls happens to be an excluded breed. The benefit to all of this is that you have options if you want to get coverage for your dog breed. Although this is an extra cost, you can protect yourself against the unexpected event of a bite and rest assured that it will be covered by your insurance.
We recommend consumers take the necessary time to shop around and even speak with an experienced insurance agent that can help you find the best coverage option.