About 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Other statistics of concern to dog owners include:
- 800,000 of those bitten suffer injuries requiring medical attention.
- More than half of those bites occur on the dog owner’s property.
- Dog bites account for one third of all home insurance liability claims.
- The average cost for dog bite claims nationwide was $32,072 in 2014.
States have laws in place to help determine the degree of the owner’s liability when a dog bites someone. In most cases, the owner is liable for the injuries as well as any property damage caused by the dog.
Responsible dog owners understand the importance of protecting people from a bite. But even the most docile dogs can bite if they feel threatened or are overly playful. Claims resulting from bites are expensive, and dog owners should review their home insurance policy for information about coverage. When reviewing, consider the following questions:
- Does the policy cover such claims? While most home insurance policies will cover the claim, others may not.
- If the policy covers the claim, are the limits adequate? Most home insurance policies offer only nominal liability coverage such as $100,000 or $300,000. While this may seem like a lot, consider all the expenses related to a dog bite claim—medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering add up quickly.
- If there is a personal umbrella policy, does it extend to cover dog bite liability claims? An umbrella policy can significantly increase the available coverage limits, but will prove useless if it does not cover this specific liability.
For more questions about liability insurance, or any insurance needs, contact Hills Insurance Agency, we’d be happy to assist you.Reprinted by permission, The Mines Press, Inc. Volume 43, Issue 5 Insurance products are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not insured by any federal government agency, carry no bank guarantee, and may go down in value.