Dog Bite Costs on the Rise for Homeowners

Written by on 4/24/2017 5:23 AM . It has 2 Comments.

a dog that lead to a homeowner submitting a dog bite claim

Dog bites and other related injuries account for a third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. You may be looking at your sweet furbaby right now, unable to believe he or she would ever do such a thing. Every dog is capable of biting someone under the right circumstances. Even the gentlest dog may bite while defending their owners, food, territory, or puppies.

While it may be hard to believe now, dog bites are a real and expensive problem for homeowners across the country. In 2014, $530 million was spent on these specific liability insurance claims. Although the numbers of overall claims decreased that year by 4.7 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the cost of claims increased by 15 percent. This is a trend that has continued since 2003. Over the years, the cost of claims has jumped 67 percent says the III.

These costs might be paid, initially, by your insurance provider, but over time they trickle down to you in the form of higher premiums. The defense is awareness and protection.

Help Your Dog Avoid Problems

Bites aren’t the only injury your dog can inflict on someone. Other injuries typically involve knocking people down. Small children, the elderly, and people on bicycles are most common.

Be a responsible dog owner to prevent these accidents.

  • Socialize your dog so they know how to behave around people.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when out of the house and yard.
  • Teach children not to bother a dog that is sleeping or eating.
  • Before you bring your dog home for good, spend time together to get an idea of her personality.
  • If you know your dog doesn’t handle strangers well, keep him in another room or out of the way when people come over.
  • Talk to a veterinarian about the right kind of breed for your family and your living situation.

Make Sure You Have Enough Insurance

If your dog injures someone, you’ll need to file a liability claim with your homeowner’s insurance. The cost of an average dog bite claim in 2014 was over $32,000. Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you know exactly what and how much your insurance covers. There could be exclusions for specific breeds or policy limits in place.

Before you bring your dog home, make sure your policy will cover the breed you’ve chosen. While larger dogs like Pitbulls and Dobermans are not covered by some insurance policies, smaller dogs like Chihuahuas can be just as dangerous. It’s important to know what your insurance covers or to find a policy that will include your dog.

The biggest cost factor in a dog bite claim isn’t in the medical injuries, which can be significant. It’s the lawsuit settlement and legal fees of the injured person decides to sue. It’s also good to consider an umbrella policy to cover you in case your homeowner’s policy limits are exceeded in a single claim. These policies aren’t expensive, and for a few dollars a month, you’ll gain extra peace of mind.

If you want to make sure you have enough coverage or the right policy in case your furbaby hurts someone, contact us at Charlotte Insurance. We can let you know what your current policy covers and give you a quote for an umbrella policy.


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