Home Blog Premises Liability Dog Breeds and Homeowners Insurance: What Every Homeowner Should Know

Dog Breeds and Homeowners Insurance: What Every Homeowner Should Know

By Eugene Bruno on July 12, 2023

Homeowners insurance is important for more than just protecting your home. Homeowners insurance provides liability insurance if someone is injured on your property. With summer festivities in full swing, you’ll want to be protected in the event that your dog bites someone or knocks them down. It’s important to understand that certain dog breeds can affect your ability to get coverage and may result in personal liability if your homeowner’s coverage does not cover a dog bite claim. In this blog post, we’ll break down the topic of homeowners insurance and restricted dog breeds to provide you with a clear explanation of the issue.

The Connection Between Homeowners Insurance and Dog Breeds

Homeowners insurance is like a safety net that protects you financially from potential risks related to owning a home. It covers things like theft, natural disasters, and accidents, such as your dog biting or injuring someone. Injuries by dogs are common and can happen when someone visits your home, when you’re walking your dog, or when you and your dog are at the dog park. For most insurance companies, certain dog breeds are considered high-risk due to their reputation or history of aggression.

Restricted Dog Breeds: What You Need to Know

Many insurance providers have a list of restricted dog breeds, also called “blacklisted” breeds, that they consider high-risk. These breeds have been associated with incidents involving property damage or personal injury. While the specific list of restricted breeds varies among insurance companies, some common examples include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Akitas, and Great Danes. Owners of restricted or “blacklisted” breeds may find themselves without insurance coverage and personally responsible for the harm their dogs cause, so it’s important to educate yourself about what your homeowners insurance policy does and does not cover.

Why Insurance Companies Impose Dog Breed Restrictions

Insurance companies make decisions based on actuarial data or historical claims data on specific dog breeds, which helps them assess the potential risks associated with owning specific dog breeds. It’s important to note that not all dogs of these breeds are dangerous, but historical data and statistical trends may influence insurers to impose policy restrictions. The main concern is the potential for aggressive behavior and the resulting risks to visitors or neighboring properties. It is important to understand that if you own a restricted dog breed, you may find yourself without insurance coverage and personally liable for injuries your dog may cause.

What To Do if You Own a Restricted Dog Breed

If you own a restricted breed or are considering adopting one, make sure that the homeowners insurance you purchase covers your specific dog breed. Do not misrepresent your dog breed to your insurance company because this may result in a loss of coverage if a claim is filed against you. If your policy doesn’t cover your specific dog breed, it doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Look for specialized insurance providers. Some insurance companies specialize in coverage for homeowners with restricted dog breeds. While their premiums may be higher, they can provide tailored coverage to meet your needs.
  • Obtain an exemption or certification. In some cases, homeowners can get exemptions or certifications for their dogs that enable them to obtain coverage. This involves demonstrating that the dog has received obedience training, has a good temperament, or has no history of aggressive behavior.
  • Consider separate liability policies. In addition to homeowners insurance, you can explore standalone liability policies that specifically cover dog-related incidents. These policies safeguard you financially in case of any incidents involving your dog.

Do I Need to Tell My Insurance Company My Dog’s Breed?

Always inform your insurance company of your dog’s breed because it could cost you if you don’t. If you’re not honest about your dog’s breed or bite history when you apply for a homeowner’s policy or update your current policy, your insurance company could deny any future claims. Not disclosing this information can also be considered fraud and may result in your policy being canceled.

Understanding Your Policy

Regardless of your dog’s breed, it’s crucial to read and understand your homeowners insurance policy. Some policies may include specific clauses related to dog liability, while others may have general liability coverage that applies to any breed. You do not want to find out that a dog bite claim filed against you is not covered because you did not check whether your policy covers your specific dog breed. Being aware of these details ahead of time will help you avoid surprises when filing a claim.

By understanding your policy and exploring alternative options if your dog is a restricted breed, you can make informed decisions regarding your homeowners insurance. Being proactive, responsible, and well-informed will ensure that both you, your home, and your pet are adequately protected.

Contact Our Legal Team for Help

Here at Eugene Bruno & Associates, we understand the love you have for your pet and want to hear your side of the story. If you’ve been left unprotected by your homeowners insurance policy, call us toll-free at 1-888-BRUNO-88 (1-888-278-6688) today to schedule a free consultation.

Posted in: Premises Liability