Are pit bulls costing your clients their homeowners insurance?

Major national insurers are increasingly dropping policies on homeowners clients after meeting the family pet.

Insurance News


If insurance carriers are suddenly dropping your homeowners clients, it may be have something to do with the family pet running around their front yard.

According to recent data, the prejudice against pit bulls and other dog breeds considered dangerous is extending to the world of homeowners insurance.

In 2013, US insurance companies paid out more than $483 million for 17,369 dog bite-related claims. As a result, several families have reported their insurers ceased to cover them after finding out they own dog breeds classified as too risky to insure.

“The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 45 percent in the last decade (2003-2013), due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing,” said Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I.

And agents have noticed the pull back from carriers.

Of the eight insurance carriers Sacramento independent agent Randy Brown works with, “literally none of them will write policies for pit bulls, even mixed breeds,” he told the Sacramento Bee. Others will cover the breed, but exclude liability for bites or attacks.

“The presence of some dog breeds may make a home ineligible for insurance coverage,” a spokeswoman for The Hartford confirmed to the newspaper. “Each customer’s situation is different and we encourage homeowners to speak with their insurance company or agent for more information.”

The California Department of Insurance also advised that agents and policyholders don't exclude the presence of a dog on a homeowners insurance application, as this can not only lead to denied claims but constitutes insurance fraud.

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