Powered by rate.com

What to Know About Dog Breeds and Home Insurance


Insurance companies base homeowners insurance premiums on risk, and pets— including many larger breeds of dogs—pose a potential bite risk. This is why you should declare any pets you have to your insurance company.

  • Some insurance companies will not offer homeowners coverage if your dog is a certain breed, while others might charge a higher premium.
  • A Canine Good Citizen certification is skills-based training for you and your dog, and successful completion of this course might help you to get coverage

Dogs are some of the most popular pets in America. Numbers grew in the past few years as socially distanced homeowners across the country brought “pandemic puppies” into their homes.

Insurance companies and dog shelters are concerned about these dogs. Lockdowns and social distancing have restricted their opportunities for socialization and training. These activities are crucial for them to develop good behavior.

Pets, especially dogs, represent an additional risk. That means that your insurance company will want to know if you have added a dog to your family. 

Start saving

on insurance

Get My Quote

Do I Need to Declare My Dog on My Homeowners or Renters Insurance Policy?

You really should let your insurance company know about any pets you have, especially if you have homeowners or renters insurance. Let the insurer make the determination if the pet poses any risks.

Your goldfish won’t bite and your turtle terrarium won’t cause anyone to trip and fall. Pets like dogs, cats, and exotic animals such as birds, snakes, and lizards can be risky. It’s a good idea to declare them beforehand.

If an accident happens and you haven’t divulged that you have a pet and there’s a claim, your insurance company could decide that you failed to disclose a material fact that would have affected your rate and coverage. 

This could lead to your insurance company canceling the policy back to the start date due to a breach of contract. 

It’s best to ask first if you need more insurance for your pet. Otherwise, you might lose your coverage later if you don’t mention having an iguana. If the iguana bites a guest and they make a claim, it could cause problems.

What Dog Breeds Will Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?

The answer to this question depends on the insurer. Some insurance companies flat-out will not write policies for homeowners who have dogs of certain breeds or breed groups. Some will write policies but have higher rates for certain breeds. Other insurance companies don’t track specific breeds at all.

If you have adopted a dog from a shelter, even figuring out what breed you have can be confusing. Unless the shelter knows the dog’s history, frequently they are guessing the breed or breed mix based on appearances. While DNA testing kits for dogs are popular, consumers should be wary of placing too much stock in their accuracy.

Some home insurance policies don’t cover pit bulls, but this is a problem because “pit bull” isn’t a breed. It’s a generic term that covers a number of different breeds that have distinctive, blocky heads and muscular bodies. 

The size of a dog impacts property insurance coverage. This is because dog-bite injuries are the primary reason for claims on canine liability insurance. The bigger the dog, the more damaging the bite can be. Pit bulls get attention, but other dog breeds are often not covered by home insurance. 

Some homeowners insurance policies generally do not allow the following breeds:

  • Akitas
  • Mastiffs
  • Chow Chows
  • Rottweilers
  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Staffordshire Terriers and others in this family (classified as pit bulls)
  • Wolf breeds or crosses

All the above-listed breeds are larger dogs that people consider aggressive. Obviously, there are many good family dogs that exist within these breeds. A great deal of a dog’s temperament and behavior come down to training and socializing.

Does Owning a Dog Increase Your Homeowners Insurance?

Owning a dog will likely increase your homeowners insurance premium. This is because your policy includes liability insurance, which protects you in case someone gets injured while at your home. 

A lot of households in the U.S. have at least one pet, and according to a recent National Pet Owners survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, around 69 million households have a dog

Dog bites are a common problem. Millions of people are bitten by dogs every year, and many of them are children, frequently age 2 and younger. This risk means it’s a good idea to make sure you’re covered even if you consider your dog to be well-behaved. 

Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites?

The primary reason your insurance company is even interested in your dog is because of the risk for dog bites. If you don’t have a dog, there’s no chance someone will get bitten; if you do have a dog, there is a risk. On the surface, the risk has increased just by having a dog — any dog.

Any dog can bite. From the quiet and cuddly to loud barkers, any dog that feels challenged or threatened can bite. 

Dogs bite for a range of reasons, but it’s almost always a response to an external factor. For example, being startled or scared can trigger some dogs to bite. Some dogs will bite to protect something that is important to them, such as their food, their puppies or you. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that nearly one out of every five dog bites requires medical attention. One of the most important things you can do as a dog owner is to work with your dog to reduce the risk of bites. Here’s how:

  • Socialize your dog. Exposing your dog to a range of people and experiences will desensitize your dog so that they aren’t easily scared or startled by something new. 
  • Educate others about how to approach dogs. Actions we think are harmless, like reaching a hand out or patting a dog on the head, are considered aggressive by a dog. Learn about dog body language to both understand your own pet better and for situations around dogs not known to you. 
  • Invest in your dog. Training, sufficient exercise and proper healthcare are essential to a happy and well-behaved pet.
  • Avoid situations that increase risk. You are your dog’s biggest advocate. Do not put your dogs in situations that you know will cause them stress.

Can I Get Homeowners Insurance If My Dog Is Considered an Aggressive Breed?

First, talk to your insurance agent. While some homeowners insurance companies will drop you if you have a breed of dog they consider aggressive, not every company does this. 

Some insurance companies will allow homeowners to add dogs that were previously excluded from policies if they complete a training course. The American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen Test offers one such skills-based training program for you and your dog. Dogs learn good manners and receive obedience training. Also, owners learn about dog behaviors and what it means to be a responsible dog owner. 

Finish the course to become a confident owner with a happy dog. You’ll also have a better chance of getting homeowners insurance that covers your dog, even if it’s a restricted breed.

Start saving

on insurance

Apply now

How can I get a quote for homeowners insurance today?

Being a dog owner is both a privilege and a responsibility. You need to train and socialize your dogs so they can interact safely with your friends and neighbors. 

Certain dog breeds are seen as more aggressive, which can make it difficult to get home insurance. However, you can improve your chances by completing the AKC Canine Good Citizen course. Talk to your agent or connect with an expert agent today to learn more!