Pit bulls are among the dog breeds that some home insurance companies consider high risk due to potential attacks. This may lead to higher policy rates. State Farm, Allstate and USAA tend to be more lenient with pit bull ownership if you can show your pittie has a history of good behavior.
How owning a pit bull can affect your homeowners insurance
If your dog bites someone, your homeowners insurance liability coverage usually covers it. However, large dog breeds, which home insurance providers consider pit bulls to be, are capable of causing more damage than their smaller kin. As such, home insurance companies often raise rates for homes with a pit bull in them. In some cases, they may completely deny coverage if you have a pit bull.
Our team of analysts found that the average cost of dog bite claims has risen 10% since 2019. Nearly 17,000 dog bite claims were filed in 2020, costing Americans more than $853 million.
- California, Florida and Texas have the highest number of dog bite claims
- Dog bites cost the most in New York, where the average claim is $67,000
- Pennsylvania has seen the sharpest increase in dog bite costs
|State||Number of claims||Average claim cost||% increase in claim costs since 2019||Cost of all claims|
|Methodology: Claim data sourced from the Insurance Information Institute.|
Which home insurance providers cover pit bulls?
While some insurers deny coverage for certain dog breeds across the board, others decide to cover homes with otherwise high-risk breeds on a case-by-case basis. These insurers include:
State Farm: The insurer does not require you to disclose the breed of dog you have when you are purchasing a home insurance policy. It makes a decision based on your individual pit bull's previous behavior.
Allstate: Its practices involving dog breeds are similar to State Farm. Your pit bull can be included under your home insurance liability coverage, but that could change if your dog misbehaves in the future.
USAA: It covers your pit bull if the dog has a history of good behavior. The downside of USAA is that it only provides insurance for enlisted military members, veterans and their families.
The practice of prohibiting coverage based on a dog's breed is slowly decreasing. Michigan and Pennsylvania have passed legislation that prohibits insurers from denying coverage based on breed alone. More states, such as Massachusetts and New York, are planning to pass similar legislation. In the meantime, consider the three providers above if you need home insurance now.
Find cheap homeowners insurance for you and your pit bull
Who's a good dog?
Demonstrating your pit bull's good behavior is the best way to increase your chances of getting home insurance coverage and fair rates. Here are some steps you can take to establish your pit bull's safety factor.
- Enroll your pit bull in a dog training class.
- Get the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate from the American Kennel Club. This is an excellent and respected way to prove your pit bull's good behavior.
- Spay or neuter your pit bull. There is evidence that suggests that a fixed dog is more docile and well-behaved.
- Keep up to date on your pit bull's vaccinations and vet visits.
Furthermore, here are some other steps you can take to reduce your pit bull's liability factor in general.
- Get to know your dog's stressors and trigger behaviors in order to avoid them.
- Socialize your pit bull with other dogs. This reduces the chance that it will feel threatened when in close proximity to other dogs and strangers.
- Leash train your pit bull.
- Train your pit bull to drop toys when playtime gets too rough. This way it'll know the signal to stop.
- Do not leave your pit bull in the care of strangers or people who have children. Kids don't instantly know your dog's limits and may accidentally provoke it.
Other insurance options for pit bulls
If you can't find a home insurance policy that will cover your pit bull, look into an umbrella policy or canine liability insurance.
An umbrella policy is supplemental homeowners insurance that you can purchase to extend your claim payout beyond your policy limits. For example, if your liability coverage limit is $100,000, you have a $300,000 umbrella policy and you have a claim that goes over that limit, your umbrella policy will cover the difference up to $300,000.
Canine liability insurance
If you've heard someone speak of "pit bull insurance," odds are they're talking about canine liability insurance. Canine liability insurance is a standalone policy, so you don't have to have a home insurance policy to buy it. A dog bite can easily result in a claim exceeding $35,000 in medical and legal costs, so it's a great alternative. Many smaller insurance providers offer it.
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