Like most Americans, I am a dog lover! My last dog, Miles, was a 135 pound Bloodhound and he was a great dog. He had big floppy ears and no matter what type of mood you were in he was right there with you. Unfortunately, there are some dogs that are not so nice and obtaining homeowners insurance may prove difficult.
A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association revealed 68% of U.S. households, or 83.3 million homes, own a pet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and about 885,000 require medical attention for these injuries; about half of these are children(1). Because of this some insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own certain breeds of dogs categorized as dangerous, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans. Others decide on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether an individual dog, regardless of its breed has been deemed vicious.
Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2014, costing more than $530 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®. An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that while the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 percent in 2014, the average cost per claim for the year was up 15 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013. The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67 percent from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing. The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not only to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, the elderly, etc., which can result in injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.(2)
Most insurance companies have a dog question on their application. They want to know the breed of dog and whether or not the dog has a previous bite history. Some insurance companies will not insure Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman’s among others regardless if the dog is vicious or not. The breed itself is too risky and too many claims have been filed.
Homeowners who own a Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Doberman or any other dog who is classified as uninsurable should contact an independent insurance agent. Independent agents work with several insurance companies and will help you find the right homeowners insurance. There are insurance companies who only ask if your dog has a previous bite history. If the answer is no, you are insurable!
Contact The Andrew Agency
The Andrew Agency loves dogs and they want to help you find the right insurance company for you and your dog. Contact The Andrew Agency at (804) 320-2886 or visit www.theandrewagency.com.
Sources (1 & 2): Insurance Information Institute http://www.iii.org/issue-update/dog-bite-liability