The real reason Insurance Carriers are afraid of Pit Bulls

Owning a dog can be quite expensive, and that is not just including the vet bills, food, and toys. Insurance premiums are often an added cost that dog owners must consider. After all, some over zealous dogs man sink their incisors into the mailman, or that quirky cousin that drops by unexpectedly.

For this reason, even if you know little Snowball or Fluffykins would never bite anyone, the insurance carrier may increase rates to protect their margins if the unfortunate were to happen.

Dogs annually bite close to 4.7 million people in the U.S. alone.

That is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the people bitten, most have medical bills that are the burden of the dog owner’s insurance company.

CDCP found that the average cost for a dog bite claim ran around $30,000!
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Now that’s a lot of dough for a dog bite! Now the increase in premium cost makes sense for all dog owners, but did you know that some dog breeds cost more than others?

Most carriers have an informal list of dog breeds that they charge more to insure. These breeds are those that are commonly thought of as dangerous, aggressive, or just plain massive. Some of these dogs include Great Danes, Rottweilers, Dobermans, or even the endearing German Shepherd.

You probably read through that list and noticed the most notorious chomper of them all, Pit Bulls. These puppies (pun intended) are in a league of their own.

If you own a Pit Bull, your homeowners premiums WILL go up.

Pit Bulls weren’t always the monsters that they are portrayed as now, and that they can indeed have a gentle heart. America didn’t always have the negative outlook on Pit Bulls, and they were one of the most beloved dogs throughout a majority of the 20th century.

Pit Bulls became known as aggressive in the 1980’s when dog fighting became popular.

Pit Bulls are picked for fighting because of their muscular build and compact body. Not to mention their large and intimidating pearly whites. In 1986 states and cities began to ban Pit Bulls for fear of them harming other dogs, children, or even adults. Since then statistics have shown that a large amount of dog attacks—even ones resulting in death—can be accredited to Pit Bulls. For this reason insurance agencies are quite anxious to cover homeowners with Pit Bulls and other “dangerous” dogs.

One fact that Americans still can’t seem to figure out is whether Pit Bulls are aggressive by nurture or nature. In other words…

Are Pit Bulls just mean dogs? Or are some owners training them to attack?

The answer is that nobody really knows for sure. The research is split down the middle; some saying Pit Bulls are more inclined to be aggressive, and others claiming there is no significant data to prove they are any more violent than other breeds.

One research study shows that more and more Pit Bulls were being adopted in the U.S. following the Michael Vick debacle.

As adoptions increased so did the attacks.  Though the adoptions of these dogs were done in hope of helping out the breed’s reputation, it resulted in the exact opposite.

If you or your client own a Pit Bull don’t think that increased premiums are inevitable. There are a few actions that owners of “dangerous” breeds can take to lower their insurance premiums.

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Data from Dogbites.org, Pit Bull gif from http://giphy.com/

Some insurers will make an exception for an owner whose dog has a Canine Good Citizen certificate from the American Kennel Club.

This requires that a dog go through training (if needed) and pass the 10-step CGC test. These steps test a dog and owner’s relationship along with the dog’s obedience and reactions with different situations, people, and animals.

If insurance carriers still won’t insure your dog or increases premiums regardless of a CGC certificate, there are other options. Consider canine liability policies. These usually cost under $100 a year and cover all breeds.

One should never lie about owning a Pit Bull. The consequences of an incident occurring when not insured far outweigh being honest on the application.

Honesty is always the best policy, especially in this case! Always keep these circumstances in mind when thinking about a new pet.

Although you love Rex, your insurance company might think he’s a little rascal.


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