Do I need special insurance if I own a pit bull?

Pit Bull and German Shepard

Is your four-legged best friend a member of the “dangerous breeds” club? You may have heard that you can’t get homeowners or renters insurance if you own a pit bull, German shepherd, or Rottweiler. But don’t worry. There are plenty of renters insurance companies and homeowners insurance companies in South Carolina that will insure you and your furry friend. You just may have to jump through some extra hoops to find one.

Why are certain breeds considered dangerous? 

Any dog can bite and cause injury, from the tiniest Chihuahua a the gentle giant Great Dane. However, some breeds are more likely to have a temperament influenced by their biology which makes them more likely to be aggressive when provoked or startled. Now, if you’re thinking to yourself “Aggressive? Easily startled? Why isn’t a Chihuahua on that list?” it’s simply a matter of size. A big dog is more likely to cause serious injury than a small dog because of its size.

Insurance companies don’t want to put themselves in a position where they are more likely to pay out an expensive dog bite injury claim. That’s the reasoning behind denying homeowners insurance to owners of dangerous dog breeds.

Dog breeds that may be banned from coverage by some insurance companies include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Dobermans
  • German Shepherds
  • Chow Chows
  • Huskies
  • Rottweilers
  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Wolf Hybrids

So what happens if I own a pit bull and need insurance? 

If you own one of these so-called “dangerous breeds,” don’t lose hope. There are plenty of ways to get homeowners insurance or renters insurance.

Certain companies will outright deny coverage if you own a pit bull or other dangerous breed, but many won’t. The first thing to do is shop around and talk to your insurance agent, who will usually know off-hand which companies deny coverage to pit bull owners. After all, you’re not alone. There are 18 million pit bulls in the United States, and that’s a lot of pit bull owners who still need to get homeowners or renters insurance!

Once you’ve gotten past the companies that won’t sell you insurance because of your pit bull, you’ll likely run into one of these other scenarios:

  • You may pay higher premiums – Insurers that are willing to insure homes with pit bulls may charge higher premiums.
  • You may need to prove your dog’s temperament – Some insurance companies will insure dogs who have no history of aggressive tendencies. Temperament testing with a professional may be required.
  • You may need to purchase a separate canine liability policy – Otherwise known as “dog bite insurance,” a canine liability policy can cover claims resulting from your dog biting someone or causing damage, separate from your homeowners or renters policy.

Should I tell my insurance company I own a pit bull? 

Here’s the thing about insurance: you need it to be there for you when something happens. For that reason, you need to tell your insurer that you own a pit bull. If you don’t, and your dog bites someone, you may be paying for the damage and medical bills out of pocket. The average cost of a dog bite claim is $50,000. Tell your insurer, and make sure you’re covered!

Need homeowners or renters insurance for you and your furry friend?

Edwards Insurance Agency in Taylors, S.C., helps dog lovers get the coverage they need to protect themselves. Give us a call today!