6 On Your Side Answers: Which dogs are blacklisted by insurers?

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – We all know that a dog is man’s best friend, but that’s not always true for insurance companies. There are certain dogs that are blacklisted by insurers.

Betty from Knoxville asks: “If you own a certain breed of dog, can you have a harder time getting homeowners insurance?”

As much as you may love your dog, your homeowners insurance may not, depending on the breed. Risk managers say insurance companies go by the average number of bites reported for a certain breed of dog in determining which are the most aggressive and might have breeding restrictions on them.

The Humane Society of the United States reports that the bite list changes from year to year and from one area of the country to another, depending on the popularity of the breed.

Just a few years ago, the doberman was the breed to fear, even though it can be affectionate and obedient according to the American Kennel Club.

Today, the doberman is number two on the list of bites reported across the country. Topping the list now are pit bulls and Staffordshire terriers as being the most aggressive dogs.

However, advocates from the Humane Society say these dogs are unfairly demonized. Again, it is dog bites that the insurance industry tracks because they accounted for more than one third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2012, according to industry records.

Rottweilers are number three on the bite list. Experts say while they make good service or therapy dogs, they’re very protective of their territory and are known to be aggressive if not kept under control.

If you have one of the dogs that might be deemed aggressive by your homeowners insurance company, should you tell them you own one of these animals when they ask?

Because insurance companies have a misrepresentation clause in their coverage, and if you don’t reveal you have one of the dogs considered overly aggressive and you file a claim, they may not pay anything.

Some dog friendly carriers do not discriminate by breed while others do.

You can see Don Dare’s 6 On Your Side Answers every Tuesday and Thursday on 6 News at 4:00.

If you have a question you can send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side hotline at (865) 633-5974.

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