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$32,072 - Average cost of dog bite claim

2015-06-28 13:25:00

dog bite

Homeowners liability limits are important to discuss with your agent and especially if you have a dog. Even the sweetest dog can feel the need to defend themselves if they feel scared or threatened. Bites can be accidental when a child goes for a toy and the dog gets excited to get it. Regardless of how it happens you are responsible for any injuries that happen on or off your property. 

Dog bites and other dog related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ liability claims in the nation. According to the Insurance Information Institute the average cost paid out for dog bite claims in 2013 was $27,862 and up to $32,072 in 2014. Based on the number of claims that is over $530 million dollars**. The increase in my opinion is related to medical cost rising for injuries. I believe this average claim cost will increase again for 2015 results even if the number of incidents doesn’t increase.

Excluded List

Some dogs are on the “excluded” list preventing their owners from getting insurance from some companies. Below is a list of dog breeds that could cause a problem when looking to find or switch your homeowners insurance. This list varies by company*. I personally believe that how an owner trains and raises a dog has a significant impact on their temperament and not just their breed. Regardless of the breed, if your dog has bitten someone in the past you have a significantly higher liability exposure.

  • Doberman
  • Rottweiler
  • Chows
  • Pit Bulls
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Presa Canarios

Check your homeowners’ liability limit, I recommend having at a minimum $500,000 limit but for usually less than $2 - $3 a month you can increase that to $1,000,000. Also, look into an umbrella policy for that added level of protection in case the worst does happen.

If you have any more questions about dog liability claims or want a homeowners quote please call our office at 701-237-6414 and ask for Denise, Becky or Jessica. You can also email me at jebeling@warnerandcompany.com 

*List of dog provided by North Star Mutual Insurance

**Data and photo provided by the Insurance Information Institute and National Underwriter magazine June 2015 Issue