As much as you love your dog, your insurance carrier may not. Well…. depending on the breed.
Believe it or not, dog bites actually account for around a third of all payments made by insurers on this type of cover. In 2015, insurers paid over $570 million, with an average settlement cost of about $37,000.
This is a substantial payout for the insurance carriers, so naturally, they would want to do what they can mitigate that risk. How do they mitigate risk, you may ask? Easy, increase home insurance premiums for individuals that own dogs that they deem as dangerous.
So if you own a “dangerous breed” you may be faced with higher premiums and even blacklisted by insurance carriers solely because they see your dog as a substantial risk.
Yup! This has actually been a topic of discussion near and dear to Connecticut over the past decade with multiple attempts to pass a bill to disallow discrimination based on the breed of dog within the state itself.¹ Unfortunately, nothing was passed.
So now what? Welp, insurance companies can still legally discriminate your dog based on its breed. I know… I know… For now, let’s at least have a look at the list of dogs insurance companies see as risky and the reasons for it.
The Backlisted Dog Breeds
1. Pit Bulls and Staffordshire Terriers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that Pit Bulls caused 32% of all fatal bites, resulting in death. If you asked someone to label an aggressive dog breed, this breed’s name would most likely come up in conversation.
Still, they remain the poster pup as the most aggressive breed and likely will remain just that. Even as recently as 2012, they held the number one spot as most lethal dog, and contributed to 61% of the 38 fatal dog attacks that year.
According to the AKC, Rottweilers make good police dogs, herders, service or therapy dogs and are very protective of their territory. In 2013, an Atlanta, Ga., high school student was attacked on school grounds by two roaming Rottweilers. Injuries from the attack left the girl in need of reconstructive surgery.
3. Doberman Pinschers
This dog breed did not begin to truly grow in popularity until the 1970s, when a rash of attacks from Doberman Pinschers made the news and caused insurance companies to develop serious pause. Stories of Dobermans biting small children have led insurance companies to think twice about providing coverage to those who have chosen to own this particular breed.
4. Chow Chows
Chow Chow are protective, stubborn, and territorial. Hence, it is no surprise why you find this dog breed at the top of the list of the most lethal dogs to own as a pet. One bite from them cause some serious harm to the person due to their sharp set of teeth.
The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association stated that this dog breed was responsible for causing eight out of the 238 dog bite injuries from 1979 to 1998.
5. German Shepherds
The AKC says the German shepherd is the world’s leading police, guard and military dog. The breed also is “highly represented in biting incidents,” according to a range of studies cited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
An 8-year-old girl from New Athens, Illinois, was mauled in 2013 by 2 German shepherds owned by the town’s former police chief. The girl was bitten on her left leg, chest and back.
6. Siberian Huskies
Yes, believe it or not, these adorable Huskies find themselves on the watch list of insurance companies. Huskies can display natural aggressive behavior towards people if not trained properly. You need to train this dog breed if you plan to adopt one and invite them in your home as your permanent family member.
7. Great Danes
Great Danes are usually associated with the lovable Marmaduke from the comic pages and the 2010 movie, yet two from this breed were not so cuddly when they mauled and critically injured a woman as she entered their kennel. Vetstreet recommends that the breed, which can weigh more than 100 pounds, receives early training against jumping or acting aggressively.
8. Wolf Hybrids
Wolf Hybrids — half dog and half wolf! Perhaps the most controversial entry of the list, wolf hybrids — or wolf dogs — are technically not a breed but are the animals that result from mating a wolf with a dog. While owners say wolf dogs make good pets, critics contend that the animals are dangerous and unpredictable. In 2002 in Ballard County, Kentucky, a wolf hybrid killed a 5-year-old boy. The owner pleaded guilty to reckless homicide.
Akita is a guard dog that is extremely protective towards its owners. Their Japanese lineage is one of the reasons why these dogs are popular among people. They are bred from the dog Matagai, which translates to a hunting dog or bear hunting dog. It might not be a good idea to own this dog breed if you live in a townhouse.
These dogs are very playful, but can be distrustful of strangers. Signs of dominance and aggression should be immediately corrected to maintain control over these dogs.
In August 2013, a Philadelphia police officer reportedly shot two boxers that had been used as guard dogs, after they attacked a man who was walking home from a grocery store. The victim was treated for numerous injuries.
What Should You Do If You Own One of These 10 Dog Breeds?
Firstly, you need to tell your insurance company the truth. If you lie about the breed of the dog and your pooch bites another person, you will have to pay for the expenses. It is better to tell the truth than pay hundreds and thousands in medical expenses.
You never know your insurance company may be willing to provide you with a discount to reduce your insurance premiums. For instance, you can show your insurance company proof that you have taken measures to reduce the risk of your dog biting someone by successfully completing obedience class and your insurance company might just agree to lower your insurance premiums. It is worth a shot!
You can also obtain standalone coverage, which is separate from your homeowners insurance policy. You should always have insurance for your dog, as going without it means paying money out of your pocket for any claims filed by another party against you.
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