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Do home insurance companies have a dog "black list"?

 

There may not be an industry-wide "black list" of uninsurable dog breeds, but some home insurance companies do have lists of breeds and crossbreeds they will not insure. Besides pit bulls, breeds that worry insurers include:

• Rottweilers

• Chow chows

• German shepherds

• Siberian huskies

• Alaskan malamutes

• Doberman pinschers

• Presa Canario bulldogs

• Great Danes

• Boxers

• Akitas

• Wolf-hybrids

Does this mean you can't get home insurance if you have one of these dogs? No, but you might have to shop around to find affordable home insurance. Some insurers charge more if you own a pit bull or one of the other breeds deemed risky. Others might require you to sign a liability waiver for the dog. Still others consider insuring homeowners with dogs on a case-by-case basis.

The approach to insuring homeowners with dogs also varies by state. In Michigan and Pennsylvania, home insurance companies are prohibited by state law to discriminate against certain dog breeds, and similar laws are pending in other states, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In Ohio, though, pit bulls are considered "vicious dogs."

But bans on discriminating against certain breeds won't help you if your dog has already bitten someone. Your policy could be cancelled or the insurer could insist on excluding your dog because of its history.

Your best bet for finding -- and keeping -- home insurance if you have a dog, is through prevention. Obedience training, spaying or neutering and keeping dogs on your property and away from situations in which they might feel threatened or teased are all good steps to take. Some companies are more willing to provide coverage if a dog has passed a canine good citizen test.

For more, see home insurance for dog owners.

Last updated: Nov. 9, 2010
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