While there may not be an industry-wide "blacklist" of breeds,
it's probably best to check with your homeowners insurance quotes policy agent before you buy
a German shepherd, a pit bull, or a rottweiler.
Some insurers have lists of breeds and crossbreeds that
they will not insure. The usual suspects are pit bulls, rottweilers,
wolf hybrids, huskies, Dalmatians, Airedales, and Great Danes.
A number of other insurers do not maintain a blacklists
of breeds, believing that each case has to be considered individually.
One of the reasons some companies deny that they look at
dog breeds is because state regulations prohibit them from
doing so in certain parts of the country.
Some homeowners insurance quotes companies don't discriminate by breed. "We believe
that there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed,
just as we believe that there are responsible and irresponsible
owners," says Phil Supple of State Farm, the nation's largest
Dan Hattaway, an underwriting consultant for State Farm,
says that the company doesn't even track how many of its home
insurance policyholders own dogs. Policyholders do have to
answer questions about dogs on the application, however. Specifically,
the company wants to know if a dog has ever bitten anyone
or if it has been trained for attack purposes.
If it turns out that the dog has bitten someone, State Farm
will want to know the circumstances surrounding the bite.
"We'll want to ascertain if it's ever likely to happen again
if precautions have been taken to prevent it," says
Hattaway. Other factors the company looks at are the seriousness
of the injury and whether the attack was provoked or unprovoked.
Considering each case individually
Hattaway gives this example. An Irish Setter gives birth
to a litter of puppies. She and the puppies are on the back
porch. Some friends come over with their little boy to look
at the puppies. Under the supervision of the insured, everything
is fine. Everyone goes inside, and parents tell the boy that
it is time to leave the dog alone with her puppies.
"Well the adults got to talking about adult things, and the
little boy, unnoticed, decides he's going to go out and pet
the puppies. He got bit," says Hattaway. "When State Farm
followed up on the claim, we found that the insured had had
the female spayed. She wasn't going to have any more puppies,
and she showed no further aggressive tendencies." Because
the dog's owner had taken steps to make sure that a similar
incident would not occur, State Farm continued his coverage.
Some will ask "Do you own a vicious dog?" on home insurance
applications and any previous dog-bite claims will
show up on your claims history, which insurers check before
issuing a policy. Like State Farm, some insurers will consider
whether an attack was provoked or unprovoked.
Insurers are most concerned about unprovoked dog attacks.
If your dog has an unprovoked attack in its history, most
insurers will cancel or not renew an existing home insurance
policy, decline your application for a new one, or attach
an exclusion for the dog to the policy. The exclusion means
that the insurance policy would not cover any liability claims
caused by the dog, making you personally responsible for any
medical bills or lawsuits stemming from your dog's actions.