Pit bulls and homeowners insurance: Everything you need to know


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UPDATED: 2021-03-01T20:50:27.277Z
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A Pit bull playing in the yard with its owner.

Your pit bull may be a sweet dog and unlikely to bite anyone, but your homeowners insurance company may have different thoughts. Unfortunately, some home insurance companies have breed restrictions on certain dog breeds they deem a higher risk for a liability claim from a dog bite. Because of breed restrictions, pit bull owners may have difficulty finding a policy that will cover their dog at a reasonable rate.

It's important to let your homeowners insurance company know you have a dog. If you don't, you may not be covered in the event you need to file a liability claim involving your dog.

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Why homeowners insurance companies ban pit bulls

When you own a dog, your liability coverage on your homeowners insurance may cover injuries or damage caused by your dog, for example if it bites someone. But pit bull owners know that’s unfortunately not the case for all breeds. Some homeowners insurance companies restrict certain dog breeds from coverage because they consider them a higher risk to cause a liability claim. The average cost of a dog bite claim is more than $37,000. While it may not seem fair, insurance companies that discriminate by breed typically have a blacklist of breeds they won’t cover. All companies make their own blacklist of breeds based on what they consider high risk.

Pit bulls are among the most common breeds discriminated against and banned from coverage by homeowners insurance companies. The reason for this goes back to the breed’s history of being used in dog fighting and the frequency of improper training practices that leads to biting.

It's important to note that "pit bulls" aren't actually a breed. It is an informal term used to describe a group of breeds that includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. These breeds were sometimes used in dog fighting. Also, pit bulls are not the only breed often blacklisted. Other common breeds blacklisted by insurance companies include rottweilers, great danes, huskies, Presa Canarios, chow chows, German shepherds and wolf hybrids. Often, dogs that are mixed breeds with any of these will be seen as a high risk by some insurance companies.

How to get homeowners insurance with a pit bull and what to expect

Pit bull homeowners insurance is harder to come by than regular homeowners insurance. When looking for an insurance company, be sure to shop around. Some companies refuse to cover certain breeds or may charge a higher rate. The best way to find a company that will cover your pit bull at a reasonable rate is to shop around and get quotes from multiple homeowners insurance companies.

A risk some pit bull owners take is excluding their pit bull from coverage. This means if the dog bites someone, their homeowners insurance will not cover it so the owner is responsible for paying all associated expenses out of pocket. While some homeowners insurance companies allow policyholders to do this, it can be very risky and could put you in a difficult financial situation as dog bites can be very pricey.

Additionally, some companies make exceptions to breeds they normally restrict. Exceptions may include if the dog is a trained and certified service dog, or if it has a dog obedience or training certificate. However, not all companies make exceptions.

When you find an insurance company that will cover your pit bull, you should expect a representative from the company to visit your house to evaluate your dog. Companies that don’t have specific breed restrictions often insure dogs based on the case rather than the breed. The company may need to have evidence that the pit bull does not express aggressive behavior or have any history of aggression or biting.

If you own a dog, always be sure to disclose that information with your homeowners insurance company. If you don't discose that, you could risk being dropped by your homeowners insurance company.

Pit bull friendly homeowners insurance companies

You may have to jump through a few hoops to find an insurance company that will accept your pit bull. While a lot of companies restrict coverage based on the breed, there are a number of companies out there that’ll provide you coverage with your pit bull, and they’re sure to get your tail wagging.

Based on reviews from Clearsurance users about their insurance company discussing dog breed restrictions, customers have not experienced breed restrictions by the following companies:

State Farm was the most talked about company that covers pit bulls. The company follows the motto “It’s not the breed, it’s the bite,” recognizing that any breed of dog may bite and breed is not a good indicator to insure by. One reviewer wrote, “I have always been happy with State Farm as my homeowner's insurance company. They have great service and do not discriminate against "aggressive" dog breeds, like pitbulls”

Another user had a good experience with Farmers insuring their bully breed. The user wrote, “As we own a bully breed, this provides us with the most comprehensive coverage for our needs. We have not had to use claim services, but feel secure that we have the option to feel a sense of security if we needed to use it.”

According to reviews, Liberty Mutual is a company that may cover your pit bull but may charge you a higher rate. There are also a few homeowners insurance companies that reviewers had difficulty getting coverage for their pit bull from. Those companies include American Family, Horace Mann, Progressive and The Hartford. One Clearsurance user wrote a Progressive review saying, “Progressive has a no dangerous breed policy. Once they found out that I had a Pittbull, they gave me 30 days to find another policy - because they had no problem cancelling me immediately. My dogs are harmless and lovers. It's disappointing to see a company be so [discriminatory]. I've switched to Statefarm now, and their company motto is: "It's not the breed, it's the bite!" Statefarm does not discriminate against my dogs, nor do I get punished as their owner before they commit any sort of trouble.”

Finding an insurance policy with a pittie is more difficult, but it’s not impossible. Do your research and get quotes from multiple companies to find one that will cover your pit bull at a reasonable price. Do you have pit bull homeowners insurance? Write an insurance review of your experience with the company (whether it was good or bad) to help other pit bull owners find a company.

If you want to find more information about specific dog breeds or pets in general, My Pet Needs That covers a number of useful topics for pet owners. Be sure to check it out.

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