Have you ever looked over at your dog and thought to yourself “I should check my homeowner’s insurance policy.”? Probably not. In recent years, insurance policies have been including clauses that limit coverage for homeowners that own certain breeds of dogs, including rottweilers, chow chows, shepherds, pit bulls and several others. This isn’t necessarily due to the breeds being more aggressive, but because the of the fact that if they were to bite someone that bite would be more severe due to the strength of the dog.
When you purchase your homeowner’s policy you naturally check the declaration page and see the coverages you purchased for you home. What you won’t see, is where it tells you that certain breeds of dogs will lower your liability protection from $300,000 to $25,000. You can usually find that language hidden deep within the documentation. Your insurance agent never mentions this detail either.
How is a limitation such as this even enforceable? Well, it isn’t. Not in Pennsylvania at least. According to Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog law, 3 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 459-507-A(d)), insurance companies may not prohibit coverage for a specific breed of dog. According to case law from Aegis Security Insurance Company v. Pennsylvania Insurance Department, “the mere presence of or introduction into a home of a dog, even of a breed known to be aggressive, is not a basis for finding a substantial increase of hazard absent some showing that the particular dog creates that risk.” This means that your dog specifically must meet the requirements to be classified as a “dangerous dog” in order for your insurance company to limit liability coverage.
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