You love your pit bull and know that wiggly pup with the lazy smile is not interested in anything but cuddling. But because of the breed’s reputation for aggressive behavior, insurance companies may be less than pleased about the pit bull in your home. Whether warranted or not, pit bulls are at the top of the list of blacklisted breeds when it comes to home insurance. Other breeds that are often on the list include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and Huskies. In fact, some companies like Esurance simply won’t insure you if you have a pit bull. In general, home insurance companies range in their willingness to cover your pit bull in your policy.
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Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Pit Bulls?
It is very important to have some sort of coverage for your pit bull, ideally included in your homeowners insurance policy. If your dog causes damages to someone else’s property or hurts someone, the bills and repercussions can be very costly. It is particularly crucial to disclose that you have a pit bull so that you are fully aware of what you are covered for if your insurance company will still cover you, and how much it is going to cost. Because of the potential risk and cost you pose by owning a pit bull, the price you pay for insurance will likely go up.
It is difficult to predict exactly how much more insurance will charge because each company has a different way of dealing with insuring pit bulls. Some companies, like State Farm, do not have any dog breed restrictions. In another possible scenario, some insurance companies will take your dog’s behavior and history into consideration. Sometimes, insurance companies will accept you if you can prove your dog’s good nature and manners. The American Kennel Club has a “Canine Good Citizen” certificate that can help you with training and can be tangible evidence to your insurance company that your dog is not a threat. Many companies will only insure your dog before it has bitten someone, but not after they have a record of violence. Making sure you know your dog and that they have the right training can also be a great way to protect yourself, other people, and your pit bull. Because of their reputation, the good pit bulls have to constantly represent their breed through their good behavior, so having a well-trained pit bull will give you and others more confidence in your dog and can be a step towards changing the stereotype.
In two states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, you cannot be denied liability coverage because of the breed of your dog. However, insurance companies are not legally restricted and can blacklist breeds like pit bulls in the rest of the states.
If you have just gotten or are getting a new dog, especially if it is a pit bull or other commonly blacklisted breed, it is important to remember to check with your current homeowners or renters insurance policy to see if you are covered for your pit bull and at what cost. If your insurance will not cover your pit bull or will provide coverage at too high of a cost, you still may have options.
Renters insurance is similar to homeowners insurance where the liability coverage protects you financially from damage done by your pets. It is the same situation with renters insurance where some companies will cover you while others will not. Always check with the company and explicitly mention your pit bull to make sure you are covered.
Explore Your Options
When it comes to finding liability coverage that covers you and your dog, it is important to be aware of your options and shop around. The amount that companies will charge you for having a pit bull varies greatly as discussed above. Ideally, your home insurance policy will not discriminate based on breed and will include full liability pet insurance for your pit bull at the same price as it would for any other dog. If your home insurance company does not cover your pit bull or would raise your rates too much to include them, you can either shop around for another homeowners policy, or you can obtain canine liability insurance specifically designed for pit bulls. Canine insurance will be a standalone policy that can be purchased separately from your homeowners insurance policy and is often offered by smaller companies.
You can start by contacting your current home insurance agent if you are already insured to make sure that you are covered. They also may be able to help you figure out your other options. And if you are not currently insured for pet liability, make sure that you get insurance, and that you are choosing the best possible option for you and your pet.