Frees Advice: Pets

Home Insurance Uncovered: Dog Bites

Woof! Woof! Ouch! More than one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims are attributable to dog bites. Statistically, 61 percent of dog bites occur at the owner’s home; further, 77 percent of victims are bitten by a dog owned by a family member or family friend. Unfortunately, insurance companies are beginning to draw hard lines in the sand when it comes to dog ownership. Typically dog breeds are only considered during the initial underwriting of the homeowners policy. The companies with which we work will not cancel an existing policy because of an excluded dog breed. The following dogs tend to be problematic among most insurance companies:

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Bull Terrier
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Mastiffs
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Pit Bull
  • Presa Canario
  • Rottweiler
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Wolf Hybrid

While we know many of these dogs can be just as gentle as any other dog, they are typically responsible for the majority of claims, with pitbulls alone typically responsible for more than 25% of dog bite claims. If you have one of these “excluded” dogs or are thinking about buying or adopting one, please make sure to speak with your trusted insurance professional to review potential issues.

Original article can be found here.

Dog Bites & Insurance

It’s true that dogs are a “man’s” (or woman’s) best friend, but it’s also true that sometimes accidents happen. Dog bites and dog-related injuries now account for one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars. According to the Insurance Information Institute, this added up to more than $570 million dollars in 2015. Many dog bites claims are caused by dogs knocking down children, cyclists, and the elderly. The large increase in U.S. Post Office worker attacks may also help explain this highly increasing trend in costs.

Even though the number of dog bite claims went down by about 7% this year, the average cost per claim went up by 16%. In 2015, the average was $37,214 per claim compared to $32,072 in 2014 and $27,862 in 2013. Overall, the average cost per claim has gone up by an astonishing 94% from 2003 to 2015. 

In 2015, California had the largest number of claims at 1,684 with Illinois in second place at 931. Interestingly, Arizona had the ninth highest number of claims but the highest average cost with some rising up to $56,654.