Tennessee homeowners’ risk increasingly difficult to insure

Insurance agents dealing with homeowners who carry this risk are being turned away by a growing number of carriers

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

Homeowners are finding it much more difficult to secure policies due to the number of carriers unwilling to insure them based on their ownership of pit bull-type dogs.

A representative from Erie Insurance explained that due to the sheer number of claims involving pit bulls, they will no longer insure homes with the dogs. The company classified the dogs “a vicious breed.”
The term ‘pit bull’ does not actually refer to any specific breed. It is a type of dog specifically bred to bait large animals.

According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, a total of 8,460 claims were filed in 2014 for ‘dog bites’ in ‘other states.’ Not all states posted detailed information regarding the number of dog bite-related claims, although California tops the list for the most number of dog bite claims.

The report suggested that “[some] insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own certain breeds of dogs categorized as dangerous, such as pit bulls.” Additionally, the report noted that the trend in higher costs-per-claim was for cases where the dogs were capable of knocking down children, the elderly, and so on, which “can result in injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.”

Nonprofit pit bull rescue and education organization Bless the Bullies noted that the insurance company restrictions do not only apply to pit bulls, but to other types and breeds as well, such as Great Danes.
The Humane Society of the United States lists the pit bull as the most abused dog in the country.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals released its position statement on pit bulls, noting that most variations of pit bull-type dogs are the result of arbitrary breeding, and that “dogs of many breeds can be . . . trained to develop aggressive traits.”

Home insurance companies continue to refuse households with pit bulls, despite research in related insurance claims, dog aggression, and dog abuse cases.

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