What You Have to Know


When initiating a brand new owners insurance coverage coverage, the end result can all the time be a raffle. Will my insurance coverage premium be too excessive? Ought to I fear about protection limits? Will I must buy further protection?

All these questions come to thoughts when researching insurance coverage carriers. And when you’re a canine proprietor, you’ll have yet one more: Will my insurance coverage firm prohibit my canine’s breed from protection? And even when they don’t, will they cowl canine chew claims if my canine bites a neighbor?

Whereas these questions is perhaps new to you, they’re definitely not new to insurance coverage suppliers. In 2021, insurance coverage firms spent roughly $882 million on dog-bite and dog-injury-related legal responsibility claims, in accordance with a 2022 evaluation by the Insurance coverage Info Institute. That quantity represents a rise of just about $10 million from the quantity paid out in 2020.

Not solely did the entire quantity paid for canine chew claims enhance, however so did the entire variety of canine chew claims nationwide—from nearly 17,600 in 2020 to nearly 18,000 in 2021. Regardless of the rise within the variety of individuals reporting canine chew incidents, the common price per declare really decreased from $49,558 in 2020 to $49,025 in 2021.

However any year-over-year modifications can’t essentially present the total image—that the price of dog-bite claims has definitely seen a outstanding uptick within the final decade. From 2012 to 2021, the common price per declare has risen by 39 p.c, from $29,752 to greater than $49,000. The Insurance coverage Info Institute attributes that largely to elevated medical prices and bigger settlements awarded to plaintiffs.

Relying on what the statute is the place you reside, canine house owners will be held routinely chargeable for any damage or property harm their canine causes or are solely accountable if the canine has exhibited violent conduct previously. Some statutes, referred to as negligence legal guidelines, maintain the proprietor liable in the event that they had been “unreasonably careless” in caring for the canine.

Getting nervous but, canine house owners? Don’t fear — you’re in good firm. Roughly 70% of U.S. households — 90.5 million properties — personal a canine, in accordance with the American Pet Merchandise Affiliation’s 2021-2022 survey.

Or perhaps you must fear. Do you know {that a} majority of states — 29 — think about canine house owners chargeable for any accidents their pet causes? California and Florida are the highest two states for variety of canine chew claims. In 2021, California insurers paid out roughly $120 million in canine chew claims whereas Florida insurers paid out about $81 million.

Is Your Canine on the Restricted Breeds Record?

Some residence insurance coverage firms have an inventory of restricted canine breeds. Breeds thought-about “restricted” elevate pink flags as a result of they’re thought-about the next threat of resulting in high-cost insurance coverage payouts. (Together with trampolines, canines are one of many larger complications for firms supplying owners insurance coverage.)

Relying on every firm’s practices, proudly owning sure breeds might probably imply greater premiums, much less favorable protection phrases, and at worst no protection in any respect.

“The (firms) that do have some sort of restriction on breeds usually base it on the losses that they expertise,” stated Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communication for the Insurance coverage Info Institute. “They’ve decided, ‘OK, we had extra losses with this breed than that breed.’”

A Forbes Advisor evaluation of generally banned canine breeds, up to date in Oct. 2022, revealed that Doberman pinschers, pit bulls and rottweilers confirmed up on all surveyed lists of breed restrictions. Chow-chows and wolf canines or wolf hybrids additionally appeared on greater than 90% of lists.

Some insurance coverage firms don’t have laborious and quick guidelines that instantly bar a buyer from protection ought to they personal a selected canine breed, in accordance with Ruiz. Sure canine breeds could engender additional questions.

“Possibly one firm likes to try the breeds however then will ask, ‘What sort of coaching do you will have? Have you ever had any prior losses along with your former insurance coverage firms?’” Ruiz stated. “It’s a course of. It may very well be a consideration, however it might not imply that they’re not going to insure you due to it.”

Many residence insurance coverage firms nonetheless need to insure a possible consumer even when they personal a breed thought-about dangerous. They only need to decide the suitable amount of cash to cost, Ruiz stated. To do that, an insurance coverage supplier will usually keep in mind a canine’s chew historical past.

Animal advocates, just like the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, stress that coaching — reasonably than a canine’s breed — performs a giant function in a canine’s conduct. “There’s loads to be stated for canines being educated,” Ruiz stated. “That’s the extra vital focus — for individuals to take a look at whether or not they’re being accountable pet house owners.”

How Do Totally different Owners Insurance coverage Corporations Deal with Canine?

When you personal a canine which may be on one of many restricted canine breed lists, it’s comprehensible that you simply’d marvel what to do subsequent. Possibly you’re already shopping for insurance coverage to cowl vet payments and also you don’t want any further bills. On the subject of canine breeds owners insurance coverage, it’s vital to do your analysis.

We talked to owners insurance coverage firms to get you some solutions about which insurance coverage suppliers even think about canine breeds and what inquiries to count on once you apply for protection.

State Farm

State Farm doesn’t ask what breed of canine a house owner owns, in accordance with an April 2022 press launch.

In 2021, the corporate paid nearly $162 million in additional than 3,200 dog-related damage claims, per State Farm. Each the variety of claims and the entire quantity paid went up between 2020 and 2021 by 2.3% and three%, respectively. California and Illinois topped the corporate’s record of variety of dog-injury-related claims per state.

“Each canine has a singular persona,” the corporate signifies within the assertion. “Whereas a canines’ breed could dictate how they give the impression of being, how a canine reacts in a scenario isn’t assured by breed or sort. It’s vital to keep in mind that even well-trained canines can chew if they’re put into the mistaken scenario.”

Earlier this yr, State Farm public affairs specialist Michal Brower really useful that canine house owners ask their insurance coverage firm or agent what their owners coverage covers. A house insurance coverage firm could cowl canine bites or canine accidents underneath the legal responsibility protection portion, however that may have protection limits. A extreme chew or damage might imply the buyer has to pay out of pocket if it falls over their coverage restrict.


“USAA doesn’t think about canine breed in our underwriting of house owners insurance policies,” in accordance with firm spokesperson Rebekah Nelson in January 2022. However the firm does have a look at chew historical past. “Requests for insurance coverage could also be declined when the insured owns an animal that has beforehand bitten or attacked,” Nelson stated on the time.

USAA membership is open to most veterans and their eligible members of the family.

Farmers Insurance coverage

Tips and restrictions range by state, in accordance with exterior communications supervisor Carly Kraft in early 2022. However California residents on the lookout for insurance coverage with pit bulls, Rottweilers or “wolf hybrids” could have an issue, in accordance with nonprofit pit bull advocacy group BADRAP. As of up to date steerage, the insurance coverage firm is not insuring new clients with these canines, per BADRAP.

“If a canine bites or injures somebody exterior of your family, the legal responsibility part of Farmers owners and renters insurance coverage insurance policies will sometimes assist cowl medical bills ensuing from the damage, as much as the legal responsibility limits within the coverage,” Kraft stated on the time. “Insurers could think about excluding protection for canine bites, no matter breed, if a canine has beforehand bitten somebody.”


Amica doesn’t have any restricted canine breeds, in accordance with communications and public relations supervisor Brendan Dowding in early 2022. As a substitute, they concentrate on a canine’s historical past and conduct.

“Throughout our underwriting course of, we do ask clients who personal canines numerous questions on their canine, together with particulars on prior conduct and temperament,” Dowding stated.

Ought to a canine chew somebody, that’s when the client’s owners legal responsibility protection and legal responsibility safety would come into play.

“Within the occasion a buyer is liable for his or her canine biting somebody, on the whole, their owners coverage would offer protection underneath the legal responsibility portion of a owners/condominium/rental coverage,” Dowding stated. “Nevertheless, each incident is totally different and exclusions could apply.”

Liberty Mutual and Nationwide

These two insurance coverage firms are amongst these described by animal advocacy group MSPCA as ones “which will insure in any other case black-listed canine breeds.”

MSPCA goes on to state: “Most of those firms work on a case by case foundation, contemplating the person canine’s conduct and historical past, and will require a meet and greet with the canine and/or a Canine Good Citizen certification or sure housing necessities.”

Vacationers Insurance coverage

Vacationers owners insurance coverage underwriting pointers from 2014 state that numerous canine breeds — in addition to any animal that’s “vicious or has beforehand bitten or injured” — are restricted from protection. These breeds embody pit bulls, Akitas, American Staffordshire terriers, Bullmastiffs and Staffordshire bull terriers.


The insurance coverage firm doesn’t provide property, condominium or tenant insurance coverage to house owners of — or those that stay with — Pit Bulls, Rottweilers or combined breeds wherein a kind of breeds is dominant, per an announcement offered by an Allstate spokesperson to the Kingstonist Information.


Progressive’s web site doesn’t point out whether or not they ban sure canine breeds, however notes that some insurance coverage suppliers prohibit breeds like German shepherds, combined breeds and American bulldogs.

The web site states: “Owners insurance coverage gained’t cowl property harm or damage to occupants of your private home brought on by a pet, however typically covers claims that different events make on account of your pet’s actions — no matter whether or not the incident occurred at your private home or elsewhere.”

Pets are typically lined underneath the legal responsibility limits of a house owner’s insurance coverage coverage.

Author Elizabeth Djinis is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder, usually writing about promoting items on-line via social platforms. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Smithsonian Journal and the Tampa Bay Instances.


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