Dog Breeds and Insurance: Is Their Bark Worse than Their Bite?

Are you looking for a four-legged friend to add to the family? Before you purchase a pooch, be sure you check with your insurance agent or company to verify that the dog is acceptable. Most insurance carriers have a list of dog breeds that they deem unacceptable for their insureds to own.

I know what you are thinking, “Why does it matter and what business is it of theirs what type of dog I have?” The answer is quite simple-If your dog bites someone, then you could be sued. If you are sued, your insurance company will have to pick up the tab. Since that is the case, the insurance companies feel they have a very good reason for deciding what type of dog they will allow. In most cases, this is not an issue of pricing, but more an issue of whether or not an insurance carrier will provide coverage for you at all. Most insurance carriers look at dogs as an added risk to a home. They want to minimize the amount of risk, thereby minimizing the opportunity for a claim to be filed. Insurance carriers understand that dogs are a part of many families, and so they limit their restrictions to certain breeds of dogs as opposed to restricting dogs all together.

Most of the insurance carriers agree on the major dog breeds that are deemed unacceptable. Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Akitas, Chows, and other large dogs or dogs that are known for their aggressive disposition are typically listed on each insurance carrier’s restricted dog list. Other carriers may differ on certain breeds. German Shepherds, for example, are listed on some insurance carriers’ dog lists while others may allow this breed if the policy is written in a certain program, or has completed the American Kennel Club’s Good Citizen program. Each carrier has their own idea of what they deem to be an unacceptable dog breed, and those lists can change.

Breeds such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers, beagles, etc. are typically perfectly fine with an insurance company. These dogs are considered family friendly breeds and do not pose a heightened risk to insurance carriers. This in no way means that these dogs don’t bite, but that the insurance carriers feel that the likelihood of these breeds biting someone is less than the dogs discussed above.

This blog post is in no way condemning these breeds, so if you already own a dog of these breed types I am not saying you have a bad or aggressive dog. The old saying goes “a few bad apples spoil the whole bunch.” In the case of dog breeds and insurance companies, this definitely holds true.