Pet ownership requires a significant long-term financial commitment. The costs of owning a pet can add up quickly between food and grooming, not to mention apartment pet fees and unexpected vet bills. And depending on the type of pet you have, you might even have a harder time getting approved for homeowners insurance.
Select home insurers perceive dog ownership as an added liability — that risk is heightened if your dog is a certain breed. This can lead you to pay out of pocket if a dog bite or other pet-related injury occurs on your property. Keep reading to learn more about common breed restrictions and how they may impact your home insurance coverage.
If you're having a hard time finding homeowners insurance without breed restrictions, shop around with insurance companies on Credible. Breed restrictions vary between homeowners insurance providers, so it's important to compare premiums and policies across insurers.
Dog breeds that may be restricted by your homeowners insurance company
One of the most common home insurance liability claims comes from dog bites and other pet-related injuries. Insurance companies paid $854 million for nearly 17,000 dog bite and injury claims in 2020, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
Depending on the type of dog you have, you may have a harder time finding homeowners insurance that covers you in the event of a dog bite, according to Janet Ruiz, spokesperson for the III. Common homeowners insurance dog breed restrictions include:
- Pit bulls
- German shepherds
- Doberman pinschers
- Alaskan malamutes
- Siberian huskies
- Chow chows
- Great Danes
- Wolf hybrids
It's important to keep in mind that each case is examined on its own unique merit, and some factors may make it more difficult to obtain insurance or file a claim successfully, Ruiz said. For example, it may be a challenge to find home insurance liability coverage if your dog has a history of aggressive behavior or you've filed a claim for a dog-related injury in the past.
Ruiz encourages dog owners to call their current or prospective insurance carrier to ask if they have any restricted breeds that may result in a claim denial. And if you're thinking of adopting a pet, be sure to call your insurance company or shop around for insurers that are less restrictive.
You can compare premiums from home insurers at once on Credible's online financial marketplace.
Finding a dog-friendly homeowners insurance company
Owning a pit bull or Rottweiler likely won't prevent you from obtaining homeowners insurance, but it can make it more difficult to find a policy that covers your pet in the event of a dog bite or other related injury. And thankfully, there are more insurance companies that don't have breed restrictions than do, Ruiz said.
"There are plenty of insurance companies that have no breed restrictions. They look at your loss history and if you already had dog bite claims or injuries caused by dogs."
If you're working through an insurance agent, make sure they know about your pet so they can help you find a policy that offers the appropriate amount of coverage. This way, you're not left with thousands of dollars in medical bills for dog-related injuries that occur on your property.
What to do if your insurer won't cover you because of your pet
Just because your homeowners insurance won't cover your pet due to breed restrictions doesn't mean you have to find an entirely new policy. While it may be worthwhile to switch insurers, you can also look into taking out dog liability insurance.
Having pet liability insurance adds a layer of protection if your pet is a restricted breed, or if they have a history of aggression. This ensures you won't have to pay out-of-pocket if you're sued over a dog bite injury or another pet-related incident.
Visit Credible to compare multiple home insurance companies — some of which may have no breed restrictions.
Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at email@example.com and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.