Did Your Dog’s Breed Make It On This List?
Knowing which dog breeds are most frequently excluded from homeowner’s insurance policies may help you choose a pet that reduces risk to your friends, family and others. While homeowner’s insurance companies may not provide you a list of specific dog breeds it will or won’t insure, the dog breeds on our list are often considered greater risks for liability.
Dog Breeds That May Not Always Be Covered by Insurance
Although each insurance company makes its own determinations on coverage, these dog breeds are commonly on their lists:
- Pit Bulls
- Doberman Pinschers
- German Shepherds
- English Mastiffs
- Presa Canarios
- Wolf hybrids of any kind
In California, as in most states, an insurance company could deny a homeowners policy based on the breed of the homeowner’s dog. While some insurance companies may agree to cover these breeds, it also may be at a much higher cost compared to the coverage for other breeds who pose lower risk for the home owner – and the insurance company. Still other companies may consider whether to provide coverage on a case-by-case basis, according to the dog’s known history including past biting, aggression and other behaviors.
Animal Bites and Attacks
When a bite victim is injured by an at-risk dog breed that’s noted as a policy exclusion, the owner’s insurance company may attempt to deny payment on the injured party’s claim. At that point, liability may need to be pursued directly against the dog owner, and injury expenses may need to be recovered directly from his/her assets. A personal injury attorney with experience in handling dog bite cases may be needed to help get the compensation for the bite injuries.
If you’re unfortunate enough to be counted among those injured in an animal attack, you have the option to pursue corrective action against the animal owner. This may come in the form of a civil lawsuit, possible criminal charges, and/or restitution for medical expenses and other damages that may have occurred.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 1 out of 73 Americans are bitten each year. Of all the dog attacks, bites, and mishaps that occur each year, about 800,000 result in injuries that need medical care.
Big Dogs v Small Dogs
Because the dog breeds mentioned above also tend to be bigger, their size also affects their bite pressure, typically measured as pounds per square inch (PSI). For reference, the average person’s punch has a force of between 120-170 psi, just a fraction of the bite forces of these dog breeds:
- Rottweilers: approximately 328 PSI
- Wolf hybrids: approximately 406 PSI
- English Mastiffs: approximately 556 PSI
However, it’s not all about size. Some smaller dogs are also known to be prone to attack:
- Lhasa Apsos
- Jack Russel Terriers
- Cocker Spaniels
Characteristics to Consider
Dog breeds differ in known characteristics and behaviors, as can individual dogs within a breed. For example, you or someone you know may own one of the breeds in the above list and find the pet to be completely docile and friendly. Other factors that also contribute to the temperament of these (and other) dog breeds include:
- Conditions in which the animal was raised
- Socialization issues the pet may have acquired
- Historical protective tendencies and prey drives
In any circumstance, it’s always wise to research the dog breed you’re considering, and making sure your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will provide coverage for your pet. If you are bitten by a dog, regardless of whether it is on the insurer’s list or not, you should contact a personal injury lawyer who has experience maximizing the compensation for a dog bite case.