Dog-Friendly Homeowners Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 6, 2022

Homeowners' insurance companies want to know a lot of information about your home, including whether you have dogs and what breeds they are. Because dogs are considered a risk and can affect your coverage, it's important to know your options when it comes to dog-friendly homeowners insurance.

Learn how dogs affect your homeowners' insurance and what to look for in an insurance carrier as a dog owner. 

Why Do Homeowners Insurance Companies Ask About Your Dogs?

Homeowners' insurance companies ask about dogs because dogs are a potential risk factor. Statistically, they make it more likely that you will file a homeowners insurance claim. Each company has its own approach to dogs, however, so it’s important to keep that in mind when you get an insurance quote. 

While some companies offer dog-friendly homeowner's insurance, some companies will charge you more for having dogs. Others might deny coverage altogether or exclude claims involving your dog from coverage. It all depends on the insurance company, its policies and what breed(s) of dogs you have. As a dog owner, you may need to do a bit more legwork to find the best homeowners insurance policy for your needs. 

Does Home Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

The two primary types of potential claims involving dogs are dog bites/attacks and damage done by dogs. If your dog hurts someone outside your household or damages the property of someone outside your household, that person could sue. 

Homeowners' insurance policies cover more than just damage to your home. They also offer liability coverage. That coverage helps with the costs if you’re sued by someone over injuries or property damage that was caused by someone in your household. That includes your pets unless your policy specifies otherwise. 

Dogs increase the potential that you’ll use your liability coverage. While that may not seem to apply to your specific dogs, insurance companies don’t always look at your dog and its history; they look at dog breeds in general. 

Dog Breeds Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Insurance companies typically consider some breeds more problematic than others. Insurers may single out dog breeds that are particularly large or that have a history and/or reputation of being more aggressive. The company's claims history with a particular breed will also affect its coverage. Some dog-friendly homeowners insurance may provide coverage for some breeds and not others.

If you own one of these breeds, your insurance company may deny coverage altogether, charge you higher rates or exclude your dog(s) from liability coverage. Some insurance companies don’t go by breed lists at all and instead consider your dog’s individual history. In other words, if your dog has a bite history, regardless of breed, it may exclude that dog from coverage or charge higher rates. 

Here are breeds that are often singled out by insurance companies:

High-Risk Dog Breed List

  • Pit bulls (American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers)
  • Akitas
  • German Shepherds
  • Chow Chows
  • Cane Corsos
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Dobermans
  • Great Danes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Rottweilers
  • Presa Canarios
  • Wolf hybrids

This list isn’t comprehensive, and each company has its own policies. If you’re not sure whether an insurer will cover your breed, ask. 

You’ll likely still be able to get insurance with these breeds. You just need to be aware of the potential limitations and costs. The most common result is that you’ll pay more for your homeowners' insurance. And that might be well worth it to have liability coverage for your family, including your dogs. 

Some policies might not include liability insurance at all, or they might exclude incidents related to your dog from liability coverage. 

Best Home Insurance That Covers Dogs

Here are some of our favorite dog-friendly providers. Note: In Michigan and Pennsylvania, you can’t be denied insurance due to owning a specific breed of dog. 

Best Dog-Friendly Home Insurance Providers

The following companies may offer you dog-friendly home insurance policies. Get started and get quotes today.

Nationwide
Best For
  • Customizable policies

1. Nationwide Home Insurance

Typically, your personal liability coverage wrapped into your home insurance from Nationwide will cover things like dog bites.

Whether or not you're eligible for coverage from Nationwide depends on the breed of your dog or their previous history.

Get in touch with Nationwide to get homeowners quotes and ask about coverage and your dog.

Lemonade Home Insurance
Best For
  • Ratings, price and customization
securely through Lemonade Home Insurance's website

2. Lemonade Home Insurance

Lemonade is a top-rated, modern home insurance provider. Lemonade offers several types of coverage, including home and pet insurance. As part of the personal liability portion of your coverage, Lemonade will cover costs incurred if your pet causes damage to someone else in some way.

Your coverage may pay for things like a lawyer if you get sued or the medical expenses of the victim. A few caveats: they don't cover dog bites if the victim is covered under the same policy as you. And they do have bread restrictions. However, these restrictions are lifted on high-risk breeds of dog but it is a Seeing Eye or service dog.

State Farm
Best For
  • Customers who have existing policies with State Farm

Best for No Breed Restrictions: State Farm

While many insurance companies consider a dog’s breed when it comes to home insurance, some don’t.

State Farm looks at a dog’s individual history rather than the dog’s breed. If your dog has a bite history or a history of property damage, they may charge more or decline coverage, but they don’t base their decisions solely on the breed. 

Dog Liability Insurance and Other Coverage Options

If you’re concerned about getting homeowners insurance, or you want to be sure you have liability insurance in place to cover any issues with your dog, you have a few options. 

First, consider getting a DNA breed test. While you might think you know your dog’s breed, if you’re not completely sure of its origins, a DNA test can help. There’s a chance your dog isn’t actually a restricted breed, even if it resembles one. A DNA test can let you know for sure. 

Another is a dog-specific liability policy. Some insurance companies may offer this as an endorsement with your insurance policy or sell it as a separate policy. This endorsement would cover lawsuits related to any injuries or damage caused by your pup. Ask about dog bite liability coverage and other types of safety nets.

Umbrella insurance is another possibility. It’s designed to supplement liability coverage. If your liability claims exceed your policy limits, your umbrella insurance takes over and pays up to its policy limit. It also fills gaps in coverage, so it may cover claims related to your dog even if your homeowners' insurance policy doesn’t. Talk to your insurance company to confirm this is the case, however. 

Best Homeowners Insurance Carriers

Where should you get an insurance quote? Here are Benzinga’s recommendations for the best home insurance carriers. Get in touch to find out more about their specific policies and whether they are a dog-friendly homeowners insurance provider.

Finding the Best Homeowners Insurance for Dog Owners

The best way to find dog-friendly homeowners insurance that will cover your dogs is to shop around. Get multiple insurance quotes and be upfront with potential insurers about your dogs, their breeds and their histories. 

While homeowners insurance may cover damage done by your dog, it doesn’t cover damage to your home or injuries to members of your household. It also doesn’t cover any potential injuries or other health issues your pet might experience. One option that can help is pet insurance. Learn more about pet insurance and other insurance information here at Benzinga.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Do I have to tell my homeowners insurance that I have a dog?

A

Yes, you do need to tell your homeowners insurance that you have a dog. While omitting that information might be tempting, if your dog caused an issue, you’d be on the hook for it. Insurance companies generally don’t like it when people aren’t completely honest on their policies. The worst-case scenario is that your policy wouldn’t pay for a dog-related claim. Alternatively, the company may not allow you to renew your policy and you’d be stuck shopping for a new one. So it’s best to be upfront and find an insurance company that accepts you and your pup.

Q

Why do home insurance companies ask if you have a dog?

A

Home insurance companies (and insurance companies in general) are all about risk. A home with a dog has a different set of risks than a home without one. While it might not seem fair, insurance companies look at statistics, and certain breeds have more claims than others. That doesn’t mean that breed is inherently dangerous; it just means claims are filed for those breeds more often. That could be because the dogs are larger and have the potential to cause more damage and more serious injuries. Some insurance companies aren’t concerned about the breed of your dog, however. The best approach is to shop around until you find an insurance company that meets your needs.

Q

What dogs are high risk for homeowners' insurance?

A

The dogs considered high risk for homeowner’s insurance are Pit Bulls, Doberman Pinshers, Rottweilers, German Sheperds, Siberian Huskies, Akitas, and wolf-dog hybrids.

About Melinda Sineriz

Melinda specializes in writing about mortgages. student loans, personal loans, insurance, managing credit and debt, and credit cards.