Does homeowners insurance cover pit bulls?


Whether or not your pit bull is covered by your homeowners insurance depends on your insurance company. It is becoming more common for insurers to deny coverage to pit bulls and other dog breeds.

Kara McGinley


Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto, and renters insurance. She's been writing about insurance since 2019, and her work and insights have been referenced in Kiplinger and WRAL.com.

Published June 19, 2020|2 min read

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Although you might love your pet, it’s true that your homeowners insurance company might not think of them as fondly as you do. Homeowners insurance might cover certain pet related damage or injury, but it depends on the breed of pet and the factors surrounding the event.

Certain breeds of dogs, like pit bulls, are notoriously difficult to insure. As a way to decrease risk and potentially expensive liability claims, some insurers may exclude coverage for pit bulls or they may refuse to cover you altogether if you have a pit bull.

Key Takeaways

  • Insurance companies consider pit bulls to be a high risk breed

  • Many insurance companies exclude pit bulls from coverage, meaning your liability won’t be covered if it attacks someone and they sue

  • If you have a dangerous breed, consider increasing your liability protection with an umbrella policy

Can I get homeowners insurance if I have a pit bull?

Technically, you can get homeowners insurance if you have a pit bull, but it depends on the insurance company. Some insurers might see pit bulls as high risk and deny you coverage. It’s becoming more common for insurers to deny coverage due to your dog’s breed, especially if you own a pit bull or a Rottweiler. If you are denied coverage because of your pit bull, you should shop around to find a more lenient insurance company. Certain major insurance companies, like State Farm and Allstate, insure all dog breeds, so while you’re shopping around for home insurance you should ask if there are any dog breed exclusions.

Insurance companies can be picky when it comes to pets, so you should read your policy to see if there are any caveats. For example, some insurance companies will insure your dog if it has gone through a certain amount of training.

It’s important to educate yourself on your state’s laws when it comes to dog attacks. The responsibility is on you as the pit bull owner to take precautions when it comes to the safety of your pit bull and the people and animals it interacts with.

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How does homeowners insurance cover pit bulls?

If your insurance company does cover your pit bull, a standard homeowners policy offers coverage for injuries caused by most dogs under the personal liability coverage and medical expenses component of your policy.

  • Dwelling coverage - Your homeowners insurance likely will not cover any damage your pit bull causes to the structure of your home

  • Personal property coverage - While personal property coverage protects your belongings from certain perils, damage caused by your pit bull, or any pet, likely won’t be covered. So if your pit bull chews your carpet, or if your cat scratches your couch, you’re likely going to be on the hook for paying out of pocket for the repairs

  • Personal liability coverage - If your pit bull bites someone, then your liability coverage may cover medical expenses or any potential legal fees. Liability coverage also may cover damage to someone else’s personal property, like if your pit bull destroys your friend’s couch

  • Medical payments to others coverage - If your pit bull bites a guest in your home, and they don’t sue, they might still need medical treatment. Your medical payments to others coverage can pay for guests’ medical expenses

If you have a pit bull, consider increasing your personal liability coverage and medical payments components of your homeowners insurance policy. If your pit bull was to seriously injure someone, you could be on the hook for their medical bills plus the legal fees if they were to sue, potentially costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What to do if your pit bull isn’t covered

If your pit bull isn’t covered, you should shop around for a different insurance company. If your homeowners insurance excludes pit bulls, but agrees to insure your home, you won’t be able to file a claim if your pit bull bites anyone or if it destroys someone’s property.

There are a few ways you can get coverage or additional coverage for your pit bull.

  • Pet liability insurance - If your insurance company excludes pit bulls, you should consider purchasing a pet liability insurance policy, which is coverage for all breeds of dogs in the event your dog injures a person or another dog. Your homeowners insurance company may offer this coverage as a rider or they may sell it as a standalone policy. If your insurer doesn’t offer pet liability insurance, you may be able to buy a policy from a specialized insurer

  • Personal umbrella coverage - If your homeowners insurance does cover your pit bull, you should still consider increasing your liability coverage with umbrella coverage. Umbrella coverage can be sold as an add on or a standalone policy, and buying umbrella coverage can increase your liability limits up to $1 million and protects you against expensive lawsuits that may exceed the $500,000 coverage limit in standard policies. Most umbrella policies range anywhere from $150 to $250 annually

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