Homeowners and Renters Insurance With A Pit Bull: Everything You Need To Know

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Owning a pit bull means that you’re responsible for any damage it causes, whether it’s digging a hole in a neighbor’s yard or injuring someone by biting them. For most dog owners, a homeowners or renters insurance policy would provide coverage against these actions, however some insurers deny coverage to pit bull owners. Even those that do provide home or renters insurance coverage often have stipulations. Ensuring that you’re covered for the actions of your pit bull will help you avoid having to foot any of the potential costs in the event that your pit bull causes damage.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pit Bulls?

The personal liability portion of your homeowners insurance provides coverage against most damage and injuries caused by your pets, including dog bites. However, different homeowners and renters insurance companies have differing guidelines when it comes to whether pit bulls are covered. Some insurers are pit bull-friendly, like State Farm, which doesn’t have any dog breed restrictions. Any dog bites caused by your pitbull would be covered with a State Farm homeowners policy. Others, like Esurance, flat out deny coverage to pit bull owners. Regardless, in order to be covered, you’ll have to let your home insurance company know that you own a pit bull. In fact, if you fail to so, any claims made to your insurance company may be denied.

If you already have an existing home insurance policy and recently became the owner of a pit bull, you should verify whether your policy has any breed exclusions. Furthermore, you’ll want to verify that dog bites are covered on and off your property. Some but not all policies cover dog bites that happen outside your home or apartment, such as during a walk at your local park. The best way to find this information is to either ask your insurer, or read the policy yourself.

Homeowners Insurance and Dog Breed Restrictions

Breed blacklisting has been outlawed in some states, like Michigan and Pennsylvania. This means that in those states, your insurance company is not legally allowed to cancel your coverage based on your dog’s breed, even if it’s a pitbull. However, most other states allow insurance companies to provide and deny coverage to dog owners as they see fit. Pit bulls are among the most commonly rejected dog breeds by home insurance companies.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Pit Bulls?

Much like homeowners insurance, the liability portion of your renters insurance provides you with financial protection against damage or injuries caused by your pets. Similarly, it’s also common for renters insurance companies to drop policyholders who own pit bulls. So, you’ll either have to confirm that your renters insurance company is comfortable insuring you as a pit bull owner or switch to a company that doesn’t enforce dog breed restrictions.

Homeowners and Renters Insurance For Pit Bulls

Fortunately for pit bull owners, there are a few homeowners and renters insurance companies that don’t blacklist pit bulls. Instead, these companies look at an individual dog’s past behavior to assess insurance risk and are considered some of the best homeowners or renters insurance companies that cover pit bulls.

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Unless your pit bull has bitten someone in the past, you’re eligible to receive homeowners insurance coverage through State Farm. The company considers each dog’s personal bite history to assess their insurance risk rather than having a rule that impacts every dog from a specific breed. State Farm offers pit bull owners access to homeowners and renters insurance policies.

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Nationwide provides renters and homeowners insurance to those who own pitbulls if you have also earned a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate. The CGC program is run by the American Kennel Club and the certificate is awarded to dogs who meet certain standards of behavior. For instance, dogs must be accepting of friendly strangers and be able to sit politely while being petted.

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Although, USAA restricts its policies to U.S. military members and their families, it is one of the best insurance companies for pit bull owners. USAA’s homeowners and renters insurance policies don’t enforce any dog breed restrictions. Additionally, the company determines whether to provide coverage based on a dog’s previous bite history, meaning that most pit bulls with a clean track record qualify for coverage.

Owning a Pit Bull and Your Home Insurance Rates

Whether you’re purchasing a new policy or you’re letting your current insurer know about your pit bull, you should expect your homeowners or renters insurance rates to increase. The increase in cost is highly dependent on the insurance company that you select and your pit bull’s past history. The reason that your insurance will increase in cost is because pit bulls have a reputation for being aggressive dogs and, as a result, are seen as having a greater insurance risk than other dogs. Dog bite-related claims are incredibly costly to insurance companies. In fact, in a recent year, dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for a third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. The cost to insurance companies as a result of these claims was in excess of $600 million.

Alternatives: Umbrella Policy or Pit Bull Insurance

If you’re satisfied with your current homeowners or renters insurance company, but you’d still like to be covered for the actions of your pit bull, there are a couple of alternatives.

Umbrella Policy: An umbrella policy can be purchased as a workaround that can be used as a way to protect you from the damage or injuries caused by your pit bull. An umbrella insurance policy is designed to serve as a supplement to your existing homeowners insurance by providing you with a greater liability policy limit. For instance, if you’re found to be responsible for $400,000 worth of injuries, but your homeowners insurance policy has a $300,000 personal liability limit, your umbrella insurance would cover the remaining $100,000.

Pit Bull Insurance (Canine Liability Insurance): Pit bull insurance is a standalone policy that provides policyholders with broad coverage for any dog breed. Pit bull liability insurance can typically be purchased through smaller insurance companies. Keep in mind that even if you purchase pit bull liability insurance, you should still make your homeowners or renters insurance company aware that you own a pit bull.

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