Bad Dog, Sophie!
Feb 28, 2019 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
Did you know one-third of all homeowner liability claims in the USA are attributed to dog bites? It’s true. There are nearly 90 million dogs in the United States, and it’s likely there will be 4 million dog bites this year. Roughly 37% of all households own at least one dog, and most dog bites involve dogs that are not spayed or neutered. Children are the most frequent victims, followed by senior citizens.
The homeowner policy for your house, condo or apartment automatically includes liability coverage in section II. The limits of liability might be as low as $50,000, but most insurers allow you to raise the limit up to $500,000 for a few extra dollars. In 2017, the average cost paid for dog bite claims was over $37,000! One of our clients suffered a terrible dog bite claim when their “friendly” Labrador bit a neighborhood child in the face while their child and the neighborhood child were rough-housing in our client’s house. At least $300,000 was paid in damages. It was quite terrible.
Most homeowner insurance carriers have “Prohibited Dog Lists.” For some insurers, the list might name only a half-dozen breeds, while other carriers might list 20 breeds. There is no extra charge on your policy if you keep a dog, but homeowner carriers won’t insure you at any price if you have one of their prohibited breeds in your house.
Recently our office dog, Sophie, snuggled up to a nice woman who visited our office to begin a new insurance policy. The woman was comfortably seated in front of a desk, providing information to one of our staff members. While answering questions, the woman continued petting dear Sophie. As the appointment was winding down, it was realized that Sophie was helping herself to more than just gentle petting from her new friend; she was also busy chewing through the leather shoulder strap on our newest client’s handbag!