Dog-Bite Claims Can Be Costly


Dog bites account for one third of all homeowners insurance liability claims.

On average, they cost $24,461 per claim—up 28% since 2003—due largely to increased medical costs and hefty court decisions.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually. Nearly 900,000 of those bites require medical care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Possibly the most alarming fact is that about half of the victims are children.

Most homeowners policies will cover claims caused by your dog. However, some companies include restrictions on coverage for certain breeds or dogs with a history of aggressive behavior. If you are particularly wealthy, you might also want to consider the inclination of some victims to seek additional financial awards. You might need some kind of umbrella coverage to protect your assets from very large claims.

Keep in mind that there is much you can do to minimize the risk that your dog will injure someone. Fencing and supervision are first on the list, but caution must be exercised whenever you have visitors, especially if your pet is easily startled, aroused or angered. Consider the physical capabilities of your guests as well. Children, the elderly and the disabled are at a greater disadvantage in responding to a dog attack.

Don’t leave the issue to chance. Consult your homeowners policy for coverage, and call us if you have any concerns about your protection against claims.

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