Dog Breed Restrictions in Home Insurance

Home insurance rates and coverage can be affected by the type of dog breed you own. Some insurance companies may raise rates, limit coverage, or even exclude specific breeds due to the perceived risk of liability. This article explores the impact of owning certain dog breeds on home insurance, identifies commonly banned breeds, and examines the legality of such breed-related discrimination.

The Cost of Dog Bite Claims:
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of a dog bite claim in 2021 was $49,025. Insurance companies scrutinize dog liability claims, and certain breeds tend to be associated with a higher frequency of claims. This knowledge can influence homeowners in choosing insurance providers and understanding the implications if they own a breed subject to restrictions.

Top 12 Banned Dog Breeds:
Identifying the breeds that insurance companies most often ban can assist homeowners in making informed decisions. The following breeds are frequently restricted:

Doberman Pinscher
Pit bull (including American Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers)
Chow Chow
Wolf dogs and hybrids
Presa Canario (canary dog)
German Shepherd
Alaskan Malamute

Understanding Risk Exposure:
The primary reason insurance companies restrict certain breeds is to manage risk exposure. In 2021, over $882 million was paid by home insurance carriers for 17,989 dog bite liability claims. Breeds associated with a high number of claims may face restrictions to minimize costly payouts. While some insurers consider individual temperament and history, others implement blanket bans on breeds with a higher likelihood of aggressive behavior.

Legality of Dog Breed Discrimination:
In most states, dog breed discrimination by home insurance companies is legal. However, some states have passed legislation to limit or eliminate such discrimination. States like Connecticut, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania either have restrictions on breed discrimination or additional requirements, such as minimum liability insurance coverage for specific breeds.

Local Restrictions:
Apart from insurance-related restrictions, some cities and counties also impose bans on certain dog breeds. For instance, in Prince George‚Äôs County, Maryland, owning a pit bull is against the law. Even if your insurance company doesn’t ban specific breeds, local regulations may impact liability claims if you own a prohibited breed in your area.

Being aware of the impact of dog breed restrictions on home insurance is crucial for homeowners. Understanding the reasons behind these restrictions, knowing the commonly banned breeds, and being informed about the legal landscape can help homeowners make informed decisions and take necessary precautions regarding their insurance coverage.