Written by: Portrait Photo Of Chad M. Prentice Chad M. Prentice

The COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered as a quantum shift in norms. Hundreds of thousands of people were stricken with coronavirus, with many dying. Jobs were lost. Businesses shuttered. Schools closed. The idea of finding anything good coming out of the past year is challenging amidst all the tragedy.

Homeowners who live alone struggle under stay-at-home orders. Many decided to find some close companionship in canine form. Over the past year, dog adoptions from animal shelters have skyrocketed.

With that growth comes concerns when it comes to the dog’s behavior. Many dog parks are not in operation. A dog already living in an isolated environment and denied any level of socialization – an essential element in the animal’s life – may exhibit aggressive behavior. Certain breeds are more prone to attacks, making the decision important, particularly when it comes to homeowner’s insurance.

Breed restrictions in homeowner’s insurance policies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 4.5 million people in the United States suffer dog bites. In 2019, nearly $800 million was paid out in dog bite insurance claims. The sheer number of attacks and claims have allowed insurers to dig deeper in their data and identify breeds most likely to attack.

Dogs deemed dangerous include:

  • Pitbulls
  • Rottweilers
  • German shepherds
  • Mastiffs
  • Doberman pinchers
  • Wolf hybrids

Nationwide, breed restrictions on insurance policies are the rule, not the exception. Insurers can mandate restrictions, raise premiums, or deny coverage based on the type of dog. Most cover personal and dog bite liability, damage to the property of others, and even fires caused by the animal. Not covered is damage to personal property and dwelling, bites to household members, and injuries suffered by the dog in the home.

Proactive steps can help. Properly socializing and positive reinforcement training can make a significant difference in the dog’s interactions. Also, securing the right homeowner’s policy can provide an extra layer of financial protection.

By Maho | Prentice, LLP Attorneys at Law on March 3, 2021