The Shocking Reason You May Be Denied Homeowners Insurance

by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 30, 2021

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Couple hugging their dog.

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Here's one homeowners insurance rule that can catch a lot of applicants off guard.

In the course of the coronavirus pandemic, certain trends emerged as people spent a lot more time at home than usual. Many property owners took on home renovation projects in an effort to spruce up their living space. Others took on baking, from cakes to homemade bread. And a lot of families stepped up and adopted dogs during the pandemic, figuring they'd be on hand to train their new pets and help get them acclimated.

Of course, there's much to be gained by adopting a dog, like companionship and the loyalty of a snuggly friend. But many people are also shocked to learn that adopting certain dog breeds could result in being denied a homeowners insurance policy. Here's what applicants need to know.

Certain dog breeds may be restricted

Each homeowners insurance company sets its own policy when it comes to dog breeds, so there's no universal rule stating that a specific breed will be a barrier to getting approved for coverage. However, there are certain breeds that tend to be restricted in the eyes of insurance companies.

For the most part, this applies to breeds that have a reputation as being aggressive. Pit bulls and rottweilers commonly top that list, though some insurers may also place restrictions on larger dogs like Great Danes, German shepherds, and Siberian huskies.

Now to be clear, this isn't to say that all pit bulls and rottweilers are aggressive. The point, rather, is that some insurance companies treat them as such.

So what happens if a homeowners insurance applicant owns a dog that falls under a restricted breed? In some cases, that applicant may get stuck with higher insurance premium costs, but may get approved for an insurance policy. In other cases, that applicant may be denied homeowners insurance altogether. It really depends on the individual insurance company and what its rules are.

Also, in some cases, a homeowner in this situation may get approved for a policy that excludes dog liability coverage. Homeowners insurance policies normally cover dog bites as long as they don't relate to a restricted breed. If a guest or visitor is injured on the property via a dog bite and the breed isn't restricted, that homeowners policy will kick in. But a policy that excludes dog liability coverage puts a homeowner at risk of being sued for injuries that ensue.

Research is key

Because each homeowners insurance company sets its own rules, applicants who own restricted breeds should be prepared to do their research when applying for a homeowners policy. At the same time, those looking to adopt a dog and also purchase a home may want to first research their coverage options before moving forward.

Though it would be a shame to pass up a suitable dog due to concerns over homeowners insurance, it's also important to be realistic. Mortgage lenders require homeowners to obtain insurance before finalizing their loans, and in areas where most insurers won't write a policy for a restricted breed, that's something pet adopters need to take into consideration.

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