If you are a new homeowner who owns a pit bull, you should be aware that certain dog breeds like pit bulls might not be covered by regular home insurance. This is because pit bulls have a reputation as a "dangerous breed," and homeowner's insurance usually becomes more expensive when the company assesses that their clients are more liable.
Some proof shows that pit bulls are not genetically more dangerous than other dogs, but insurance companies are still not budging. They also have plenty of statistics they can cite to support their argument. To help you find good insurance that will cover your pit bull, we have created a list of the top insurance companies that won't make a fuss or raise your premium.
What We'll Cover
- Insurers' Issues With Certain Dog Breeds
- Get Your Pitbull Insured Under Certain Conditions
- More on Dog Training at the American Kennel Club, PetSmart, and Petco
- State Farm Is Pit Bull Friendly
- Nationwide Accepts Well-Behaved Dogs
- What Do Well-Behaved Dogs Look Like?
- Allstate Is Another Popular Choice for Pitbull Owners
- Farmers Home Insurance Has Got Pit Bull Owners Covered
- Chubb Will Also Cover Your Pitbull
- USAA is the Go-To Choice for People in the Military With Pit Bulls
- Insurers Who Are Probably Not a Good Fit
Insurers' Issues With Certain Dog Breeds
If you have a pit bill, you may be surprised by this discrimination against them. If trained properly, they can be some of the most loving and adorable pets. However, insurance companies often want to protect themselves by excluding sources of potential increased liability.
This bias against certain breeds comes from the fact that pit bulls were used for dogfighting back in the day, and they were often trained to attack, as opposed to behaving properly like other dog breeds. Because of this history, they are now viewed as a more violent and dangerous breed, which, unfortunately, has been backed up by statistics. The CDC found that pit-bulls are responsible for the majority of human attacks and deaths in the years 1979 to 1994, and this has not improved in recent years.
Your home's liability coverage usually includes any damage or injuries caused by your pets. So, it isn’t a big stretch of the imagination to understand that if statistically, pit bulls have been found to bite more often, some insurers will raise their rates. The average cost of a dog bite claim is $37,000, and in 2019 alone, there were claims against homeowners with pit bulls worth $790 million.
It's important to note that the term "pit bull" can also include mixes of the following breeds:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Bull Terriers
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Unfortunately, the insurer's war on "dangerous" dogs does not end there. Insurance companies also tend to blacklist several types of bigger breeds, which may also cause more damage.
- German Shepherds
- Doberman Pinschers
- Chow Chows
- Great Danes
This is why checking your insurance company's policies on dogs is important. Some do not cover these breeds altogether, while others do cover them, but with raised premiums. Getting multiple quotes from different companies is the best decision. We have researched some of the most popular insurance companies that will cover your pit bull.
Some people choose to exclude their pit bulls from their home insurance, but this holds many risks. If your dog bites someone, you will be entirely responsible for paying the damage out of pocket, and this will end up costing you more in the long run. Notifying your insurer of your dog and dog breed is the best option.
Get Your Pitbull Insured Under Certain Conditions
There are exceptions to the general rule that insurers won't cover your pit bull. Some companies may be more lenient if you've been their client for a long time, and they may choose to look at the situation on a case-by-case basis.
- Some insurance companies will look at the history of the dog and whether or not they have been violent in the past.
- Some companies accept trained and certified service dogs, as well as dogs who have an obedience or training certificate. The American Kennel Club has the Canine Good Citizen certification, which is the most respected by insurance companies and may even warrant you a discount on your premium.
- Spaying or neutering your pit bull is a must.
- Alternatively, your insurance company might agree to ensure your pit bull with no certification if you enroll it in behavioral classes to ensure that the chances of it attacking someone are lower.
- Additionally, socializing your pit bull and responsible pet ownership are advised. For example, playing tug-of-war with your dog is generally discouraged because it can quickly become dangerous for the people involved and lead to an accident.
If you want your dog to be evaluated based on its specific situation, then you should expect a representative of the company to come to your house and evaluate your dog's behavior. This is great news because if your dog is well behaved—you will likely get a fair rate.
If you want to go with any of the routes listed above, there are two more options that you can do:
- Get an umbrella insurance policy that covers any injuries, property, damage, and lawsuits that are usually not included in your homeowner's insurance.
- Get canine liability insurance that is specific for dogs that might cause damage, and that compensates the victims of dog bites.
More on Dog Training at the American Kennel Club, PetSmart, and Petco
The majority of the companies that cover pit bulls that we have chosen to present here require or prefer that your dog has some type of training certificate. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has an excellent certification, and there are multiple AKC Clubs in all 50 states.
The Canine Good Citizen training from AKC is a six-week course, which only lasts one hour per week. It costs $150, and it includes:
- A clicker for training
- Class handouts
- A certificate
The process allows no more than eight dogs per training session to ensure that your dog gets the attention and education it deserves. During the training, in order to get the certificate, the dogs have to pass 10 tests, including walking on a loose leash and coming when called.
There are also two less expensive options. PetSmart and Petco both offer similar certification programs for $119 and $109, respectively. Like the AKC training, these programs are both six weeks long. PetSmart also has a variety of different levels of training for dogs of all ages and experiences:
- Puppy training
- Beginner training
- Intermediate training
- Advanced training
- Therapy training
State Farm Is Pit Bull Friendly
State Farm has been the go-to insurance company for people who own a pit bull because of their bully breed friendly policy. They believe that "it's not the breed, it's the bite" and do not raise premiums just because you have a pit bull or a larger breed.
Any dog can become aggressive and start biting people, so the risk is always there with pet ownership. Many people believe that smaller dogs are actually more aggressive - this can certainly be the case when you see your neighbor's chihuahua through their window and get greeted by a series of vicious barks. State Farm is aware of this, so they are lenient when it comes to insuring all dog breeds, and they take the case-by-case approach, which we will discuss later.
Additionally, customer reviews for State Farm have been overwhelmingly positive:
"Five stars! Non-breed specific, so we love that! My daughter rescues pit bulls. We also like the rates and customer service we always receive. We will always be State Farm customers!"
People also love that State Farm is extremely convenient, and all bills can be paid online or through their app. Their coverage on home insurance ranges from $100,000 to $500,000, which is great for homeowners with a dog and their rates are not half bad either.
Nationwide Accepts Well-Behaved Dogs
Nationwide is one of those insurers which will accept your pit bull under their insurance plan under certain conditions. They expect your dog to have a Canine Good Citizen Certification from the American Kennel Club that we mentioned previously, which includes teaching for the dog and the owner.
During this certification process, the dog and owner get a chance to bond, and the dog learns how to be well-behaved in a crowd and in front of its owner by learning basic commands like "sit" and "come here."
Getting this certification is worth it because Nationwide is not the only company that looks for it. While this is one of their acceptance criteria, other insurance companies can even give you a discount if your dog has this widely recognized certificate - this is especially true for people who are currently renting.
What Do Well-Behaved Dogs Look Like?
Here are some of Nationwide's criteria:
- The dog needs to be able to sit while being pet.
- The dog needs to be friendly to strangers and not bark excessively.
- The dog needs not to show any signs of fear or aggression like growling.
- The dog must be able to display calmness in a room full of people.
If you start taking your dog to any training course, you will quickly see the progress they make in improving their behavior, and insurance companies will take note of that too.
Allstate Is Another Popular Choice for Pitbull Owners
Allstate is the third most popular insurance company in the United States, and it is generally well-regarded. It has a J.D. Power Score of 841 out of 1,000 and a financial strength rating of A+. However, one negative of Allstate is that they have twice the average number of customer complaints regarding claim handling, so that may be an issue if you are on the fence about going with Allstate.
Most importantly, however, they do not care about breeds as well. They even outline some really good advice on their website on what homeowners with dogs should know before purchasing home insurance.
Additionally, they also give further guidance on lowering the probability of a liability claim to show insurance companies that there is minimal risk of the owner's dog inflicting damage.
- Keeping your dog on a leash while in the backyard to have more control over what's happening.
- Getting your dog vaccinated against rabies.
- Don't leave children with your dog. Both children and dogs are extremely unpredictable, and while children may want to play with your dog, it is best to supervise this playtime or keep the dog a decent distance away. Around 4.5 million children get bitten by a dog every single year.
Farmers Home Insurance Has Got Pit Bull Owners Covered
Farmers Home Insurance is not the least expensive insurance company you could go for, but they offer quality services and resolve claims at an extremely fast rate. They will cover your property, possessions, medical payments, additional living expenses, and your pit bull.
Chubb Will Also Cover Your Pitbull
Chubb is a lesser-known insurance company that has a more lenient dog policy. However, they have not received great reviews in the past, and customer satisfaction seems to be down currently.
They do not have the lowest prices on the market, and after seeing their customer satisfaction score, going with one of the other insurers we listed might be a better idea.
USAA is the Go-To Choice for People in the Military With Pit Bulls
USAA is another insurance company that will insure your pit bull as a part of your home insurance. However, USAA is different from the companies we've mentioned so far. It is only for people who served in the military and for their families.
This is the best insurance company that provides these kinds of insurance services for veterans, and they also happen to be inclusive of all dog breeds. Just like Nationwide, they also look at your dog's biting and violence history before making a final decision about your rate.
Some of the other perks of USAA include:
- Claims-free discount - homeowners with no claims for the past five years get a 10% discount.
- Military uniform coverage - if you are on active duty, and something happens to your military uniform, then USAA will reimburse you.
- Home security device discount - if you start using ADT security services, you will also get a discount.
The J.D. Power Study in 2020 rated USAA home insurance as one of the best ones you can get. They also had fewer complaints with regards to home insurance when compared to other companies. All in all, if you are in the military and you have a pit bull, the choice here is pretty obvious: you will certainly be satisfied with the service you get at no expense to your pup.
Insurers Who Are Probably Not a Good Fit
There are a couple of companies that are notorious for having a strict 'no bully dogs' policy. Those companies include:
- The Hartford
- American Family
- Horace Mann
Additionally, Liberty Mutual also tends to charge a higher fee if you have a pit bull, so it might not be the best way to go, especially after we've listed several better options that will be more tolerant.
One let-down client wrote the following about Progressive:
"Progressive has a no dangerous breed policy. Once they found out that I had a Pitbull, they gave me 30 days to find another policy - because they had no problem canceling me immediately. My dogs are harmless and lovers. It's disappointing to see a company be so [discriminatory]"
This is why researching insurance companies beforehand is extremely important. You don't want to be disappointed, end up with a higher quote, or get canceled, like the customer above. So, if you have a pit bull, we recommend doing extensive research, and we hope that this article has been the first step of that process.
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