If you are a homeowner it is likely you have faced the sad reality that Pit Bulls and home insurance do not always mix. Pit Bulls are often blacklisted from homeowner’s insurance coverage, and they are not alone. Also on this list are German Shepherds, Huskies, and Rottweilers to name a few. These breeds are listed as “too dangerous” to cover. From the insurance carrier perspective, even the best-trained animals can be unpredictable. Therein lies the risk some insurance carriers are not willing to take.
Nondisclosure of your dog’s restricted breed may result in an insurer cancelling your policy and denying your claims. Insurance companies also can also non-renew a policy if an insured acquires a dog on the restricted breed list. Not all insurance carriers have a restricted breed list, but may grant coverage on a case-by-case basis. Let’s breakdown a few common questions regarding Home and Pit Bull Insurance.
What are the Costs of Forgoing Home Insurance?
Forgoing the safety net of Pit Bull insurance in your homeowner’s policy is not a prudent choice. In the event that your Pit Bull does lash out, you could face being thousands of dollars in the hole.
Homeowners insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2018 according to the Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®. The I.I.I. further states that insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability legal expenses up to the liability limits. Typically, these limits are $100,000 to $300,000. Homeowners will be liable for remaining expenses once the liability limit is tapped. So, unless you have thousands laying around, a robust policy is a very wise idea!
What Kind of Coverage Do I Really Need?
Personal Liability Coverage
Personal Liability coverage protects you in the event that your dog causes bodily injury to others or their property. Be sure to ask your Agent if your pet will be covered under this type of policy.
Canine Liability Policy.
If you are unable to find a suitable home insurer, another option is a Canine Liability Policy. This stand-alone policy provides coverage geared towards breeds of dog that other agencies tend to blacklist. Providers include Dean Insurance Agency or the Einhorn Insurance Agency.
Be sure to discuss with a trusted insurance professional, how your state and local legislation will affect your policy. In some states, statutes make the owners liable depending on whether or not they were aware of their dog’s tendency to bite. According to the I.I.I., Pennsylvania and Michigan have laws that prohibit insurers from canceling or denying coverage to the owners of particular dog breeds. In Ohio, the owners of “vicious” dogs are required to purchase at least $100,00 of liability insurance.
Will My Pet Insurance Cover a Dog Bite?
No. While, many insurance carriers do sell Pet Policies, they are geared towards pet healthcare costs. There are Wellness Plans available to cover or reimburse for planned health care costs such as spay/neuter procedures or vaccines. Most standard pet insurance plans are available for unexpected trips to the vet that may incur you thousands of dollars. According to Petplan, foreign body ingestion, racks up an average $1,755 bill and cancer averages $2,033 to treat. The best protection against being held liable for your dog’s behavior is best to purchase one of the aforementioned liability plans.
The great news is that strong advocacy has pushed several states to bar targeting specific breeds like Pit Bulls. A few insurance carriers are listening too. Some carriers will provide coverage to those who can prove their canine is a good citizen. Records with no history of bites or aggression or training course completion certificates may be acceptable forms of evidence.
Though the unpredictable can always occur, a strong training regiment, proper socialization, and abiding by your local animal control laws are the best ways to prevent a scary situation. An excellent alternative to going at it on your own is adopting a sponsored Pit Bull through Pit Bull Advocacy organizations who provide access to top notch dog training, training equipment and personal support. To support this mission, please consider donating to a Pit Bull Charity like Kennel to Couch today to fund the sponsorship of Pit Bulls in need so they can reach their potential and reduce the negative stigma around the Pit Bull breed.