14 Dog Breeds Blacklisted by Insurance Companies
Homes containing certain breeds of dogs have been declared uninsurable
Posted May 27, 2014
While you might love your dog, the companies that carry the insurance for your house, apartment, or condominium might not. In fact, your dog's breed might determine whether or not an insurance company is even willing to provide coverage for your home.
The motivation for denying insurance to households with certain breeds of dogs is based upon financial considerations. As one representative of Allstate Insurance told me, "We are in the business of evaluating risk, and based on what we know the dogs on our 'uninsurable list' pose a higher risk." She went on to tell me that dog bites are a major financial burden for the insurance industry. "Dog bite related claims accounted for more than one third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2013. That amounted to about $490 million, with the average claim costing close to $30,000. But actual costs can be much higher. In 2011 A Washington State Superior Court jury awarded a $2.2 million verdict to a woman who was attacked by two neighborhood pitbulls near her home in Tacoma, Washington. The woman sued the dogs' owners whose homeowners policies were unfortunately limited to $100,000 each."
The use of such lists is not acceptable everywhere. In America the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania have restricted the use of dog breed profiling by insurance companies. Ten other states have pending legislation that would similarly prohibit companies to deny insurance to someone based only on the breed of dog owned by their household. These laws propose that insurance companies should only be allowed to deny or revoke a policy or to increase the premium, based on the risk associated with a specifically named dog. That means that the individual dog must have a known history of being aggressive or must have been officially designated as dangerous.
The insurance companies counter by saying that such laws will not work. They argue that by the time the dog has bitten someone, and has therefore been deemed dangerous, there has already been a claim filed. That means that it's already too late for the insurance company since they will have to cover the claim under the pre-existing unrestricted policy. The companies argue that the only way to reduce their financial risk is to ban certain dog breeds from coverage. Nonetheless there are some insurers that do not use a banned dog list, and some other companies that will allow a household to be insured simply by excluding coverage for liabilities due to damage caused by a dog.
Looking at the various uninsurable dog lists I found a reasonable amount of variability as to which breeds were to be allowed or disallowed. Still there were 14 breeds of dogs which appeared on virtually all of the lists that I consulted. Most of these blacklisted not only the specific breed but any mixed breed that presumably included a genetic relationship to one of the banned breeds. The 14 most often blacklisted dog breeds were:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Presa Canarios
- Chows Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Cane Corsos
- Great Danes
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: The Wisdom of Dogs; Do Dogs Dream? Born to Bark; The Modern Dog; Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History; How Dogs Think; How To Speak Dog; Why We Love the Dogs We Do; What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs; Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies; Sleep Thieves; The Left-hander Syndrome
Copyright SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission