I was talking with a prospective client the other day and getting the information needed to quote home insurance for her new home. She laughed when I asked her if she had any dogs. She does – 4 Chihuahuas! We both had a good laugh although she also understood that while her Chihuahuas were not an issue for a home insurance company, there are breeds carriers won’t write even if they behave nicely.
There are several dog breeds home insurance carriers will decline to write a home or renter’s policy for. These breeds may also result in the insurance company canceling or not renewing the policy if they are acquired after the policy goes into effect. The most common breeds include;
- Pit Bull
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Italian Mastiff
- Wolf (or wolf mix)
- Great Dane
The aggressive breeds are the most obvious due to their history or reputation of dog bites (Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman, etc.). Some home insurance companies have changed their perspective on German Shepherds and will write a home policy for someone who owning a Shepherd. The change in heart is the result of low claim activity on Shepherd’s to a level equal with the “good dogs” (Labrador and Golden Retriever, etc.). The big breeds (Great Dane, Italian Mastiff, etc.) are on some carriers’ do not write list due to their size. In these cases, underwriters are concerned they may knock someone over such as a child or elderly parent which could result in a claim.
There are a few carriers who will write a home insurance policy for someone with an aggressive dog breed, however they exclude liability coverage for a dog bite. I’m not comfortable with that approach because if someone is hurt, the homeowner would be held personally liable to pay for any medical bills out of their own money.
Consult with your agent if you own one of the dogs on this list to see what your options are. If you are considering one of the obvious aggressive breeds, know you’ll have fewer choices for home or renter’s insurance and it will be more expensive. If you own rental property, address what is and is not an acceptable pet in your lease contract. I’ve seen owner’s rental property policies cancelled based on a tenant having a Pit Bull. If you have a question, comment, or experience you’d like to share, post it on my Facebook, Google +, or LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!