Updated January 24, 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes
Owning certain breeds of dogs will result in increases in home insurance rates. The dangers some types of dogs pose to homeowners and their guests, or even their mailman, are some of the risk factors insurance providers consider when making these decisions.
It’s hard not to notice the attention dogs are getting these days—from costumes and clothing to remote technology that allows you to grant them snack privileges while you’re away at work, a new generation of dog owners is redefining the way we treat man’s best friend.
But regardless of our feelings for them, a pit bull (Staffordshire Terrier) dressed as a bunny is still going to have a harder time getting insurance than that dachshund down the street (with or without the wiener costume).
Insurify makes comparing home insurance packages— with built-in pet coverage for your best friend —faster and easier than putting that costume on in the first place. Compare quotes and save on a home insurance policy tailored to you and your dog.
Fact: The Nissan GT-R costs triple the amount to insure as the Honda Odyssey. Why? Crash stats reveal that people are much more likely to test the limits of the one with the higher horsepower. Put plainly, faster cars come with a lot of risks attached.
Victims of dog-related injuries might require multiple surgeries and specialized medical care that can run as high as $1 million. For this reason, insurance companies are very calculating about the canines they cover. Even though most home insurance does cover dog bites, insurance carriers want to avoid paying out dog bite claims as often as they possibly can. As such, they often carefully define how much pet owners should pay to cover various breeds.
Some homeowners insurance companies will even refuse to write a homeowners policy that covers dog breeds that are commonly deemed too “vicious.” According to dogsbite.org (a national dog bite victims’ group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks), recent studies put the following breeds and breed mixes at the top of the most dangerous dogs list:
Other dog breeds that are commonly understood to be potentially dangerous include:
Staffordshire bull terrier
If you have one of these dogs, you may want to check out home insurance companies’ dog breed restrictions prior to committing. Depending on the breed of dog, a policyholders’ own homeowner insurance company will make the decision on pet restrictions and rate increases. A specific dogs’ bite history could impact rates too. Sometimes, property underwriting companies or mortgage lenders may restrict your dog too.
Finally, dog bites isn’t the only peril dogs create. Dog-related property damage is often an uncovered peril in most home insurance policies. Be sure to read your policy documents carefully. Additionally, it’s a great idea to take steps to reduce the risk of dog-related property damage, such as:
Clipping your dog’s nails to prevent damage to wood floors
Putting protective rugs in high-traffic areas
Installing a door protector or door shield to prevent door-scratching damage
Provide plenty of toys to prevent boredom
Crate train or create a safe backyard pen to prevent damage while you’re out
According to the Inusrance Information Institute, just under 350.000 people were treated for dog bites in 2017. Most of them, children. So though dog owners swear some dogs are just a little spunkier than others by nature, you still create added liability risk by bringing a dog into the family. And for some, the risk will be higher than average.
Owners of higher-risk dog breeds will want to consider supplemental liability insurance because of the risks these dogs pose. Liability claims after an accident with a vicious dog resulting in medical bills on your property can be covered through extra liability insurance.
Renters insurance policies also has additional liability coverage offerings for tenants with potentially problematic dogs. Liability policies can offer pet owners peace of mind. Some umbrella policies may include these features. Insurance agents with a specialty in liability can answer these specific questions for you and your dog.
Though it’s not the celebrity status you imagined for your pup, making this list could create some discomfort for you insurance-wise. It’s essential to understand the following and take action, if necessary:
Your insurance rates could very well go up dramatically depending on the kind of dog you have in your house.
Your current insurer could even refuse homeowners coverage based solely on your dog’s breed.
Does this mean you should consider Craigslisting your canine? No. But it does mean that you need to do a little more work to protect yourself and your assets should the unthinkable actually happen.
That’s to say, ignoring pet coverage altogether isn’t the answer. This move could get you into some financial hot water later on. Getting your pup an American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Certificate can result in acceptance from home insurance companies.
Although “dangerous breed” owners may have to look a little harder, finding the best combination of home insurance coverage for your home (and pet) isn’t impossible. According to mscpa.org, several insurance providers are most likely to work with you and your pet on a case by case basis—seeing past the breed and making insurance decisions based on the actual pup.
The best pet-friendly homeowners insurance policies are:
Massachusetts FAIR plan
These insurers emphasize the responsibility of the pet owner rather than the breed itself. For example, State Farm’s website states that they do not even ask about the breed when writing a homeowners insurance policy that includes pet coverage.
The answer to that question can vary not only by the insurance company but also by where you live. Some cities and states have breed-specific legislation that requires bully (and other “vicious” breed owners) to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. For example, Dodgeville, Wisconsin requires owners to carry $50,000 in liability coverage, while Omaha, Nebraska requires twice that limit.
Most homeowners insurance companies have provisions for pet coverage. Some are breed-specific; some are not. Begin with your current homeowners insurance to understand whether or not they cover your breed and the impact of pet coverage on your current rate. Next, compare insurance configurations (bundling home, auto, pet and life for example) with other insurance providers that are deemed dog-friendly to see how well you’ll fare financially with each one.
That depends on whether you like doing things the hard way or the easy way. If you know the companies that you want to compare, you can usually go directly to their website and fiddle with their quote calculator. The easy way is to find a home insurance quotes comparison website, like Insurify, that can run the numbers all at once using up-to-the-minute data from several insurance companies in your area.
Jeannette Wisniewski is a technology writer whose passion is encouraging people to engage with technology by making it more understandable and more interesting. Though she enjoys writing business copy for a wide range of subjects, she is most inspired by emerging tech and its applications. She is a graduate of San Jose State University, a Georgia Peach at heart, and happy to call Boise, ID home.Learn More