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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Dog Breeds Insurance Blacklist: What Are the Species That Companies Ban?

Dogs are a man's best friend, but unfortunately, insurance companies don't see things that way. In many cases, people might have trouble finding coverage, especially if their breed is on the businesses' blacklist.


This article explains the problems that insurance companies often have with dogs and details the controversy regarding laws and regulations. If people want to know more about their options, they should get legal assistance.


The Problem with Dogs

The Problem with Dogs


Natural disasters and water are a problem for insurance companies. However, pools, dogs, and trampolines also give them agita.


The primary issue with dogs is the expensive liability that owners have to be responsible for. Generally, homeowners' insurance will pay for dog bites and other injuries, such as when someone falls as a result of the animal jumping at them.


According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average price of dog bites is $44,760 when someone files a claim.


Therefore, to manage costs, insurance companies have listed several dog breeds that don't fit the criteria for compensation. If the person owns the breed, the company won't provide coverage.


It's important to note that not all insurance companies have a list of restricted dog breeds. On occasions, they will take things case by case, examine what happened, and determine whether or not they'll provide coverage for the issue.


Some of the most famously banned dog breeds are the following:

  • Pit Bulls

  • Staffordshire Bull Terriers

  • Rottweilers

  • Doberman Pinschers

  • Chow Chows

  • Wolf dogs and hybrids

  • Akitas

  • German Shepherds

  • Huskies

  • Mastiffs

  • Bullmastiffs

Insurance companies generally use the term 'Pit Bull' to also encompass Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, American Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers. It also applies to any combination of these dog breeds.


Other frequently restricted dog breeds are these:

  • Guard dogs

  • Mixed dog breeds of the ones previously listed

  • Dogs with previous incidents of biting humans or other animals

  • Any dogs displaying a vicious temperament

  • Dogs with previous attacking incidents

Banned Dog Breeds: A Controversy


Certainly, not all insurance companies have a blacklist. Many of them take issues case by case. Sometimes, they'll provide liability coverage even if the person has one of the breeds the article previously mentioned.

However, people might notice that the list of unwanted dogs includes so-called species that allegedly bite, knock kids off bikes, and scare others. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has more information on the dog bite force list.


The lists include dogs many people would expect, such as Pitt Bulls, which are always at the top. However, oftentimes, there are also German Shepherds and Huskies.


Unfortunately, many insurance companies say they won't provide liability coverage in the household where these dogs live. Furthermore, if agents discover the presence of a 'vicious dog' in the home, they won't renew the policy.


Over the years, dog advocates have fought back. They've been struggling with insurance companies, trying to prove that even bites and other dog-related injuries can be traced back to owners in many cases. In other words, it's not the breed's fault.


Moreover, dog breed discrimination has also caught many people's attention. If an insurance company discriminates against an animal, would they also do it due to someone's background or skin color?

According to different sources, discriminating against certain breeds affects various groups: people of color, uninformed consumers, and consumers of moderate or low means.


Advocates say insurance companies shouldn't discriminate against a family due to their dog's breed. At the same time, they contend the following points:

  • Many consumers are not aware that their dog choice could affect their insurance. Therefore, they might suffer many consequences because they may not know what to do if the company cancels their liability coverage.

  • There is a correlation between a dog's breed and the perception of the person who owns them. In particular, Pit Bulls and the black community are linked. Therefore, insurance companies might have specific criteria when it comes to which animals they'll exclude, and it often affects minority groups.

  • If a consumer of low to moderate means doesn't get coverage from the insurance company, they may have to pay more. The same happens when it doesn't cover their dog.

Dog advocates want a moratorium on the dog breed lists. Overall, the goal is to ensure that they disappear. Then, owners will be able to access homeowners insurance with no issues.


Insurance Claims for Dog Bites


According to several insurance companies, they have a reason to defend their dog breed lists. Apparently, each year, numerous accidents happen because of vicious dogs attacking humans, and they're always of specific breeds.

Unfortunately, children often make up half of the dog bites. The Insurance Information Institute says the number of dog bite claims fluctuates each year. Plus, even though statistics dropped in 2020, the average cost rose, reaching more than $50,000 per issue.


When it comes to homeowners insurance, the cost of settling all claims is beyond $800 million. Furthermore, in a single year, legal costs for court litigation and medical reconstructive surgery expenses rose by about 15%.


Dog breed lists defenders often quote a case. Sophia was walking her black Labrador retriever, spending time with her children.


Suddenly, a Pitt Bull emerged from an unfenced yard and lunged at her son. However, her dog intervened, but he nearly lost a leg. Ever since, she has had to spend over $8,000 in veterinary bills, so she sued.


She filed a police report and said that the dog owner apparently had had other instances of 'raising vicious animals.' Even though the issue happened with a Pit Bull, Sophia says she holds no animosity toward them. Nonetheless, she has stated that the person has still not put up a fence around their property.


BSL: Breed-specific Legislation for Certain Dog Breeds


Unfortunately, homeowners insurance companies are not the only businesses discriminating against certain breeds.


Cities, states, and sometimes local municipalities have lists, which often contradict each other. They're called BSL, or 'Breed-specific Legislation.'


It began in the 1980s, according to PetPlace. Apparently, it surged after a series of fatal dog attacks.

Laws restrict and ban blacklisted dog breeds and punish them regardless of their offense. Furthermore, there are no concessions when it comes to dog bite-related claims if there were service, rescue, search, or therapy animals involved.


Deliberately Mislabeling - Is BSL the Solution?


Dog advocates are constantly challenging the logic behind banning certain dogs and mixed breeds. Firstly, it uses information from a study that took place between 1979 and 2003, so it's too old.


At the same time, according to dog advocates, in many cases, no one reported the dog's breed. One study also says that dogs are sometimes deliberately mislabeled to increase adoption chances.


However, many home insurance companies say they're justified in their bans. They say they're right in banning larger dogs, especially Pit Bulls.


Some companies in the insurance industry argue that certain dog breeds can bite with an average force of 1,000 pounds per square inch, which is enough to harm adults and children.


In addition, home insurance company industry representatives have stated that they don't discriminate against people of color or with low and moderate means. The lists are based on claims, they say.


State Farm Is Different


In some cases, home insurance companies don't develop banning lists. The nation's larger insurance company, State Farm, never asks for a dog breed or type when providing coverage.


Instead, the insurance company agents look at the dog's history. According to the business' CEO (who is also the owner of two Pit Bulls), any animal can bite.


State Farm focuses on prevention and education instead of discrimination and banning. It believes that bites are often the result of numerous factors, and they're not just because of the dog's breed.


Laws Impact Pit Bulls More Than Any Other Dog Breed

Laws Impact Pit Bulls More Than Any Other Dog Breed


There's one thing for sure: homeowners' insurance lists have a severe impact on Pit Bulls, which are the most banned breed.


Unfortunately, companies' refusal to underwrite homeowners insurance policies and discriminatory BSL laws will often result in families relinquishing their pets to a shelter. In some cases, they might abandon them.


Furthermore, oftentimes these dogs are already in shelters, and they often have scars on their faces. People can't risk getting them because they don't know what they've been through, and insurance companies won't provide them coverage.


Advice for Dog Owners


Owners should carefully think about their options when it comes to getting home insurance. Sometimes, companies have a list, but on other occasions, they make certain exceptions if there's already a pet at home.


Laws can discriminate against certain breeds, and if someone's dog has never harmed anyone, they should be allowed to get home insurance. However, things can be challenging if the person owns a blacklisted breed. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "What is the one bite rule in Texas?"


Getting Legal Assistance Soon


To understand all the options they have, people should find legal assistance. Dog bite attorneys will evaluate the laws in place and determine the best alternatives for them.


At Schuerger Shunnarah, attorneys are ready to go to war for clients. Therefore, they'll do everything they can to ensure people get the assistance they need. If someone wants to know their options for insurance coverage when they have a blacklisted dog breed, lawyers will help them.

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