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Insuring Your Pit Bull

Pet News and Views has turned into a forum for Pit Bull defenders. It all started when I heard from my friend, Holly, who is purchasing her first home. She told me that if she gets a Pit Bull, she can’t afford the homeowner’s insurance. So, I posted her story and a story about Pit Bull myths, and I heard from a lot of home insurance agents and Pit Bull lovers.

States that Require Liability Insurance
These states and the District of Columbia require owners of dogs determined to be dangerous or vicious or in some cases, potentially dangerous, to obtain substantial liability insurance policies:

Delaware

Georgia

Michigan

Minnesota

New Jersey

New York

Ohio

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Texas

Virginia

Washington

This info was supplied to me by Laura Allen, attorney who writes the blog Animal Law Coalition. On her site is a link to states that prohibit breed discrimination. She also has a Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) Watch Forum.

Ohio and Pit Bulls
One of the toughest states for Pit Bull owners is Ohio. According to another friend, Mary O’Connor-Shaver of Columbus Top Dogs and Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, “Ohio law mandates that anyone who owns a Pit Bull-type companion to have at least $100,000 in liability insurance that would provide coverage if their companion would cause damage to a person’s body or a person’s death.”

Mary suggested that proof of obedience training or other specialized training is helpful because it demonstrates the responsibility of the owner.

Ways to Get Insurance If you have a Pit Bull
A number of home insurance agents recognize the Canine Good Citizen certificate. “I have been approached by a couple of insurance agents whose companies are not issuing homeowners policies to owners of certain breeds,” says Chris Hamer, a certified dog behavior counselor and a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. “Some of the targeted breeds are Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. Some agencies legislate by weight or size. The only good news in all of this is that the agents that I talked with said they will issue policies if the dog has earned its Canine Good Citizen certification.”

Chris, who is the education chairperson at International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and author of the book Parenting with Pets, the Magic of Raising Children with Animals, explains that in order to get a Canine Good Citizen certificate the dog must show that it is comfortable and friendly with strangers, understands obedience commands, can be in public, and is not jumping on people or other dogs. The dog cannot show any signs of aggression or it is disqualified. The dog must be okay with both loud noises and visual distractions.

Canine Good Citizen programs are run by AKC (American Kennel Club). Other dog training programs may work as well. You just have to talk to your insurance agent.

14 comments to Insuring Your Pit Bull

  • Other than a complete ban of Pit Bull “type” breeds in Ontario, I’m not aware of insurance companies in Canada refusing insurance on the basis of breed. Maybe some other Canadian’s can chime in here?

    Steve Barker, a blogger at Chicobandido.com has studied the Ontario Pit Bull ban extensively, he may be able to provide home insurance related info for Canada. He also writes over here DOG OWNERS’ RIGHTS IN CANADA

  • Thanks for the info Jim!

  • I could be way off base here, but it’s only my business. Insurance companies are very calculating. They may even agree with your “it’s not the dog, it’s how the dog is raised” statement. But they may feel they can make more money by not insuring people with pit bulls. In fact, it’s probably not the insurance companies you need to convince. It’s people who sue each other in the hopes of making a quick, small pile of cash. In my former life, I spent many hours helping attorneys prepare damage analysis cases. The issue of right and wrong is long lost in the pursuit of who can pay what kind of settlement.

  • that’s a really important initiative,that every pet owner must take the responsibility to do.

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  • Jenny Lollar

    Hi My name is Jenny Lollar and I am the owner of 2 AMAZING pit bulls.. I live in Rankin County Ms and I am being forced to get atleast a $100,000 worth of liabilty insurance for my beloved animals.. I am having trouble finding an insurance company that will cover my animals.. Is there anyone out there who can help me.. I’m going to fall to pieces if I have to watch them take my animals and KILL THEM just because their pit bulls… I need help to save my BELOVED ANIMALS… Thanks so much

  • Jenny, Readers, any advice? I would contact BADRAP or The Real Pit Bull to see if they can advise you on this matter. Both specialize in pit bull everything. Also, find out about getting a Canine Good Citizen certificate or other dog training certificate. If your dog is well trained, and you have the certificate to prove it, some insurance cos. will take that into account. –Michele