Did You Know Most Insurance Companies Blacklist Pit Bulls?

On the last Saturday of October each year, National Pit Bull Awareness Day is celebrated to help bring positive attention to this unfairly stereotyped – and often banned – breed.

Many people who don’t have pit bulls (or dogs who resemble pit bulls) may not be aware there are some areas in the U.S. that ban this breed. Known as breed-specific legislation (BSL), these laws ban or restrict certain types of dogs based solely on their breed or appearance. Because of its similarity to racism, BSL is sometimes referred to as “breedism.”

It’s not surprising that every major animal welfare organization, including the ASPCA, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Humane Society of the United State and more – as well the president of the United States – are opposed to BSL. It has not proven to increase public safety anywhere it’s been enacted. It unfairly punishes well-behaved dogs and responsible owners.

For these reasons, the national trend has been to repeal BSL. Most recently, a bill passed through to the Michigan Senate this month that would outlaw BSL throughout that state.

Too bad most insurance companies aren’t following that trend to end breed discrimination.

Pit Bulls, along with several other “dangerous” breeds, are blacklisted by almost all major insurance companies in the U.S. (Fortunately, it’s illegal for insurance companies to use dog-breed profiling in Michigan and Pennsylvania.) If you have one of these breeds and need homeowners or renters insurance, you’re out of luck — or you’ll have to pay a lot more.

Why do insurance companies practice such unfair breedism? ”We are in the business of evaluating risk, and based on what we know, the dogs on our ‘uninsurable list’ pose a higher risk,” an unidentified Allstate Insurance representative told Psychology Today last year.

Yet, the AVMA reported in March that among the breeds that bite the most frequently are Jack Russell terriers, spaniels, collies and Labrador retrievers – none of which you’re likely to find on an “uninsurable list.”

Although “pit bull type” dogs were frequently identified in severe bite cases, the AVMA pointed out that this statistic is likely skewed due to “the popularity of the breed in the victim’s community, reporting biases, misidentification, and the dog’s treatment by its owner (e.g., use as fighting dogs).”

Dr. Gail Golab, director of animal welfare for the AVMA, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2007 she opposed the blacklisting of certain breeds by insurance companies.

“While certainly an individual company may have its own experience with a certain breed, it doesn’t truly speak to what most pit bull type dogs, rottweilers or dobermans are like,” she said.

The good news is there is pending legislation in 10 states that would put an end dog-breed profiling by insurance companies. Instead of denying coverage for whatever breeds insurance companies decide are dangerous, they would only be able to deny a policy or increase the premium based on the risk associated with an individual dog – regardless of its breed — who has a known history of actually being dangerous.

In the meantime, if you don’t live in Michigan or Pennsylvania and have a pit bull, German shepherd, doberman pinscher, Siberian husky, Rottweiler or other breed an insurance company labels as being dangerous, you don’t need to move or re-home your dog.

Breed-Friendly Insurance Companies

The following insurance companies do not discriminate against any breeds, according to BadRap.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to securing the future of pit bulls as cherished family companions. Just be aware that agents from independently run offices may not support this policy.

Photo Credit: Jamie Lantzy

169 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jake B.
Past Member 2 years ago

I never ever read such type of info before this was really incredible. life insurance quotes

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Jane R.
Jane R2 years ago

I didn't know insurance companies asked if you own a dog. Never heard of this.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago

Interesting.

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 .
.2 years ago

Excellent site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here? I'd really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks! Cheap Commercial auto insurance in Houston

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

Do they ask that question? If not, just don't tell them.

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angela l.
Angela L2 years ago

Maybe we should blacklist insurance. They rip off human, not surprise they rip off animal as well!!! There is no difference of any kind of dogs, it's what human make the difference!!!
The same as how some people label Chinese are cruel, Mexicans are lazy or Germans are war monsters. Every individual is different, even twins!!! The biggest issue is humans themselves who created all the problems on this planet. So pathetic!!!!

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Paulinha Russell
Paulinha R2 years ago

Thank you

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STEFANIE RACKS
STEFANIE RACKS2 years ago

THANKS FOR SHARING.

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Stella Ward
Stella Ward2 years ago

Sherri S. I agree with you on the "Good Canine Citizen" test, but I think it should be for all dog breeds, not just the ones considered dangerous.
I never stated that it was the dog's fault for chasing me when I was 4 years old so no I don't hate it like I did back then since I was too young to understand about pet responsibily. I don't even hold it against the owners of the pitbulls necessarily since they might not have known that they got out. It happened to me once when I was house sitting for a couple, but luckily I was able to get them (not pit bulls, but one was not friendly to children) back in quickly and easily.

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