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Restricted Dog Breeds for Home Insurance

Your home insurance policy's liability coverage usually covers injuries and property damage caused by your dog. That's unless your dog belongs to a so-called restricted dog breed, such as pit bull breeds, rottweilers and Dobermans. If your policy won't cover your dog, get a quote from a breed-inclusive company like State Farm, or try stand-alone dog liability coverage.

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What are the most common restricted dog breeds?

Exactly which breeds of dog are on the restricted list varies by company and state. The most common dog breeds typically include breeds in the pit bull family, plus other large breeds like Dobermans, rottweilers and wolf hybrids. This also includes mixed breed dogs, like a German shepherd mix, for example.

  • Akita
  • Alaskan malamute
  • American pit bull terrier
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Caucasian shepherd
  • Chow chow
  • Doberman pinscher
  • German shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Pit bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian husky
  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Wolf hybrid

Can I get home insurance if my dog is a restricted breed?

Home insurance rates only go up by 1% for having a restricted dog breed, on average.

If your dog is on the restricted breed list, it's most likely your insurance company will increase your rates slightly, or they could exclude liability coverage for any damage your dog causes. That means you won't be able to make a claim if your dog bites a stranger or guest or damages property.

But it's also possible insurance companies will decline to offer you a new policy or cancel your existing policy.

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Does homeowners insurance cover restricted dog breeds?

Typically your homeowners insurance does cover dog bites unless you have a restricted breed or your dog has a bite history.

If your dog bites a stranger or guest and you're sued to pay for their medical bills, your policy's liability coverage would pay for those expenses.

However, making liability claims can result in more expensive home insurance rates in the future. So even if your dog is covered by your home insurance, it might not be worth making a claim unless the cost is outrageous.

Does renters insurance cover restricted dog breeds?

Just like homeowners insurance, renters insurance typically includes liability protection if your dog causes injury or property damage. And renters insurance companies can also choose to charge extra or exclude renters coverage based on your dog's breed or bite history.

If your dog is on the restricted dog breed list for your renters insurance, you could expect a slightly more expensive insurance rate, or your insurance company might exclude any liability damage your dog causes. And renters who have dogs with any bite history, regardless of breed, will have trouble getting renters coverage.

What should I do if my home insurance won't cover my dog?

Not every insurance company considers your dog's breed, and not every insurer restricts the same breeds.

If your insurance company isn't willing to insure your dog, you should start by comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies to find one that will.

You can also get a DNA breed test, especially if your dog is a mutt. You can buy a dog DNA test online for $50 to $200, or you can get one from your veterinarian. If you can definitively prove your dog doesn't belong to a restricted breed, you might have an easier time getting coverage.

What's the best home insurance for restricted dog breeds?

Insurance companies in states like Michigan, Nevada, New York and Pennsylvania are not allowed to deny you a home insurance policy or liability coverage based on your dog's breed.

If you're having trouble getting homeowners insurance because of your dog's breed, the good news is that not all insurance companies discriminate based on breed.

Best home insurance company for any dog breed: State Farm

State Farm does not consider dog breed at all when you get a quote for home insurance. You'll only need to answer questions about your dog's bite history.

In addition to State Farm, other insurance companies that provide insurance to dog owners regardless of breed include USAA and Chubb. However, these companies may charge you more for having a restricted breed of dog, so it's still worth shopping around to get the best deal.

A few companies have a much shorter list of restricted dog breeds than others. For example, Farmers typically only restricts coverage for pit bull breeds, rottweilers and wolf hybrids.

Home insurance companies that discriminate by dog breed

Some companies have gone on record saying that they do consider a dog's breed when deciding whether to insure it. Each company has a slightly different list of restricted breeds, so just because one company won't insure your dog doesn't mean they all won't.

Allstate, American Family, Auto-Owners, Nationwide, Progressive and Travelers have a long list of restricted dog breeds:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan malamute
  • American bulldog*
  • Chow chow
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Mastiff
  • Pit bull breeds
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Wolf hybrid
*Restricted for all except Travelers

Alternatives to home insurance for restricted dog breeds

If you still can’t get coverage for your dog, consider a dog liability insurance policy or an extended umbrella policy.

Dog-specific liability insurance covers damage your dog has caused including damage to property or injury to a person. You can sometimes bundle this with your homeowners insurance or with a specialized pet insurance company.

Umbrella liability insurance supplements the liability portion of all your existing coverage, including home, renters or car insurance, for a much cheaper rate. Umbrella coverage can fill in the "gaps" in your overall coverage, which could include damage caused by your dog. However, some umbrella policies only extend the coverage limits for events you're already insured for. Make sure the policy will cover your dog before signing up.

Do I need to tell my insurance company my dog's breed?

Yes, 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 policy or update your current policy, your home insurance company could deny any future claims. This could be considered fraud, and your policy could even be canceled.

Why do home insurance companies have breed restrictions?

Home insurance companies evaluate a range of criteria when determining rates, including how likely the policyholder is to make expensive liability claims for dog bites.

Many insurance companies ask for your dog's breed when deciding whether to offer you homeowners insurance or when calculating the rate to charge you. These companies unfairly consider dog breed to be an indicator of how likely it is for you to make a dog bite liability claim or how much it could cost.

Dog breeds restricted by city laws

Though dozens of states have banned certain breed-specific legislation, unfortunately there are still dozens of cities across the U.S. that have restrictions or bans on owning certain dog breeds. Pit bull breeds and mixes and wolf hybrids are the most commonly banned breeds.

If your city has a breed law on the books, it may be difficult or impossible for you to legally own one of the banned dog breeds.

If you do decide to adopt a banned or restricted dog breed despite local laws, your insurance company will likely decline home insurance coverage in case of an incident. They could even cancel your policy altogether. Insurance companies generally won't cover you in case of an illegal act, and owning a banned dog is no exception.

Methodology

We assembled restricted dog lists from publicly available insurer filings. The filings included insurers and some subsidiaries.

Rates for owners of certain dogs were compiled using Quadrant Information Services. Rate data came from publicly available rate filings.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author's opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.