If you have a Rottweiler or another dog stereotypically considered dangerous, you may have trouble obtaining homeowners insurance without paying extra, or you may have to get a separate policy to cover liability related to the dog. Some municipalities and condo and apartment complexes even ban particular breeds, so such restrictions are definitely something worth looking into before moving or getting a new dog. Still, some insurance companies say they don't discriminate based on breed.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Whether or not a Rottweiler will raise your homeowners insurance depends on the particular insurance company you use. Some charge extra for this type of dog breed, while others do not discriminate.
Insurance Limitations and Risks
Certain homeowners and renters insurance carriers may refuse to cover dogs that are often considered dangerous, like Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers and pit bulls. Some studies have found Rottweilers to be more commonly involved in biting incidents, alongside other stereotypically aggressive dogs like German shepherds and pit bulls, as well as some less commonly feared dogs like Saint Bernards and Jack Russell terriers.
Some insurers may deny you entirely, some may charge you more for insurance and some may not cover any liability related to the dog. If the insurer won't cover you at all, you'll likely need to find another carrier that will, and if it won't cover the dog but otherwise offers a good deal, it can be a good idea to get separate dog bite insurance. Some umbrella policies will also cover dog bites among other types of risk. Dog bites are actually a common cause of homeowners insurance claims, and they can be expensive to pay out, so insurers are skittish about taking on such a risk.
Getting additional insurance for animal bites will likely raise your total insurance premiums. Only a few places, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, ban insurance discrimination based on dog breed.
Insurers that will cover your dog may still ask for information about the dog, like whether it has ever bit anyone or whether it has a canine good behavior certification. It can be a good idea to have your dog's vaccination history, training records and other documentation in good order when you start searching for insurance or a place to live.
Other Breed Restrictions
Some municipalities also have breed-specific dog laws, which are controversial and opposed by groups like the ASPCA. If you have a dog or are considering getting one, it's a good idea to know the applicable laws for any place you might consider living.
Some landlords, condos and homeowners associations also exclude particular breeds, including Rottweilers, so you should also check your lease or other housing documents to make sure your dog is permitted where you live or want to live. Service dogs, which assist people with disabilities, are generally legally protected regardless of breed.
- American Veterinary Medical Association: Dog Bite Risk and Prevention: The Role of Breed
- MSPCA-Angell: Home Insurance and Pets
- State Farm: It's Not The Breed, It's The Bite
- ASPCA: Breed-Specific Legislation
- Property Management Insider: Pit Bulls Find Shelter in Fair Housing Act Against Breed Restriction Laws
- All Property Management: Why HOA Dog Breed Restrictions Can Make Sense
- XInsurance: Animal Liability
- QuoteWizard: Dog Breeds That Raise Homeowners Insurance Rates
Steven Melendez is an independent journalist with a background in technology and business. He has written for a variety of business publications including Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, Innovation Leader and Ad Age. He was awarded the Knight Foundation scholarship to Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.