According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite more than 4.7 million U.S. residents every year, as of 2008. Attacks by pit bull breeds, including the American and Staffordshire pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier, can present a considerable risk to humans due to their size and aggressive behavior. For this reason, some pit bull owners purchase liability coverage that protects them from financial devastation if their pit bull attacks another human being.
Some states and municipalities ban pit bulls outright or require owners to obtain a minimum amount of insurance on their pit bulls. For example, as of the date of publication, the state of Ohio requires owners to maintain a minimum $100,000 liability insurance policy on their pit bulls or they will face imprisonment and a fine, according to Capital Area Humane Society. Owners should check with their state and local department of animal care and control to determine the amount of insurance they will require.
Individuals should carry a minimum of $100,000 in liability coverage but may want to purchase a higher coverage policy if they have significant assets. Some insurance companies do not underwrite policies to pit bull owners due to the high risk of liability. Dog owners need to select a local or national insurer that will issue such policies. According to Save a Bull, Farmers Insurance, State Farm, United Services Automobile Association, Chubb Group and Fireman’s Fund issue pit bull insurance policies nationally, as of the date of publication.
Dog owners need to determine what type of coverage they require. Owners can add pit bull insurance onto their homeowner’s insurance or renter’s policy, or they can purchase separate liability coverage. Depending upon their insurance company, pit bull owners sometimes cannot add coverage through their homeowner’s or renter’s policy, or they receive a better price by purchasing liability coverage separately. Individuals should call their current insurance company to determine eligibility and pricing.
To obtain coverage and receive compensation in the event of a pit bull attack, policyholders should neuter their male pit bull to reduce aggression. In addition, they have to agree to keep their pet on a leash or in a fully fenced in area. An owner should take his pit bull to obedience classes and show evidence of completion of these classes to an insurer to increase the odds of the insurer underwriting a policy. For example, Nationwide will insure pit bulls if the owner receives Canine Good Certification, or CGC, on behalf of his dogs.