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If you rent an apartment or home, renters insurance protects you in a variety of ways. One important protection that renters insurance offers is coverage if someone gets hurt while they’re on your property. Your renters insurance policy can help cover you if they try to sue you.
Renters insurance rates can vary with many factors, and owning a dog is one factor that can increase the cost. Many renters insurance providers will even refuse to insure people who own certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls, because of the unproven belief that they are more likely to bite or injure someone.
Finding an insurance provider that is willing to cover you is important if you own a pit bull.
On this page:
- Does renters insurance cover pit bulls?
- How having a pit bull affects your renters insurance costs
- Best renters insurance options if you have a pit bull
- Alternative options if you have trouble getting covered
Does renters insurance cover pit bulls?
Renters insurance offers liability protection for you if someone gets hurt on your property. If the person who gets hurt tries to hold you liable—by suing you, for example—your insurance policy can help you cover the related costs.
Because some dog breeds, like pit bulls, are believed to be more likely to injure people, some insurers blacklist those breeds entirely, refusing to insure people who own those types of dogs. Others may increase the premiums they charge.
Common examples of dog breeds that insurers blacklist or for which they charge a premium include:
- Pit bulls
- German Shepherds
- Staffordshire Terriers
- Great Danes
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
Pit bulls, however, are the most-barred dog breed, and the reasons why are rooted in racism. The rise in anti-pit bull sentiment and legislation coincided with the perception of the breed as a popular choice in neighborhoods of color. Attempts at banning and demonizing pit bulls were—and are—often meant to do the same to their owners.
All dogs can be trained and many never bite or injure anyone. Statistics that paint pit bulls as “more dangerous” or “deadly” are of questionable merit (the CDC stopped tracking dog bites by breed in 2000) and fail to take the breed’s popularity into account.
While some states forbid insurers from blacklisting specific breeds, many have no regulation, leaving insurers free to refuse to insure people who own certain types of dogs. If you own a pit bull, it is important that you check the laws of the state in which you live before searching for renters insurance.
How having a pit bull affects your renters insurance costs
If you own a pit bull, you’ll typically pay more for renters insurance than someone who doesn’t own a pit bull. You’ll also have fewer options for insurers, which means it will be harder to shop around and find a good price. The average dog bite claim costs $32,000, so insurers want to minimize their odds of having to pay out a claim by only insuring dogs they believe pose a low risk. They charge a premium for animals they view as higher risk.
For example, someone who has a dog might pay $256 a year for renters insurance. If you own a pit bull, the same provider—in this case, Progressive, as the quotes were obtained from their website—may charge as much as $656 for an identical policy. The insurer might also limit the amount of coverage it’s willing to extend.
Best renters insurance options if you have a pit bull
It can be hard to find good options for renters insurance if you have a pit bull. Many insurance companies will outright refuse to cover you, which makes it hard to shop around and find a good deal.
Still, it’s important to compare any options that you can find to get the best possible deal. You may want to consider these options if you own a pit bull and you’re looking for renters insurance.
A.M. Best Rating
Coverage for a Pit Bull?
State Farm offers renters insurance and a variety of other policies, which makes it easy to bundle all of your policies together with one insurer.
The good news for pit bull owners is that State Farm does not ask about your dog’s. The company’s questionnaire only asks whether you own a dog, so there are no breed restrictions and you won’t pay a premium for owning a pit bull.
Nationwide is a national insurance carrier that offers many different types of insurance coverage. The company does offer coverage for renters that own dogs, but may require that people with certain breeds purchase additional coverage.
Progressive is another insurer that offers renters coverage for pit bull owners. However, that protection isn’t cheap. Someone who owns a pit bull might pay as much as $400 more each year compared to someone who owns a different breed of dog.
Alternative options if you have trouble getting covered
If you’re having trouble getting liability coverage for your pit bull through a renters insurance provider, consider these alternatives.
Umbrella insurance is a type of insurance policy that extends the levels of coverage offered by your other insurance policies. Its primary purpose is to protect you from liability if someone sues you for an amount larger than your insurance would typically cover.
For example, if your auto insurance policy has a $50,000 coverage limit for liability and someone sues you for $200,000, umbrella insurance can step in and cover the excess. Having umbrella insurance can help protect you if your dog causes injuries that cost more than your insurance covers.
Canine liability insurance
Canine liability policies are specifically designed to protect dog owners if their pets injure someone else. On top of covering injuries, canine liability insurance can also cover property damage and other costs.
Reading the fine print of these policies is important. Some only apply while you are out and about with your dog, rather than on your own property. If you’re at home, these policies may force you to work with your renters insurance.
If you would like to expand your search, you can check out our picks for the best renters insurance.
Author: TJ Porter