Do you own a dog? Any dog… it doesn’t have to be a known aggressive dog such as a put bull. Fact is, nearly every dog could bite if provoked enough. The statistics exist to warrant your serious consideration if you own a dog… or any other pet that could potentially cause harm to someone.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner liabilityclaims paid in 2009. When you actually put hard numbers to these statistics, it results in more than $412 million paid as a result of a dog bite just in 2009. And the trend is not getting better… in fact, dog bite claims increased 6.4% in 2009 when compared to 2008. Looking at the six year period from 2003 to 2009, the average cost of these claims has increased nearly 30%!
When Vice President of the I.I.I., Loretta Worters, was asked about such staggering statistics, she responded by saying “The rise in dog bite claims over the past seven years can be attributed to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments, and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which have risen well above the rate of inflation in recent years.”
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that more than half of the dog bite victims are children. No one wants to think about their dog actually biting someone, let alone a child. How many times have you heard someone say about their dog “Oh don’t worry, he's all bark and no bite”? The problem is, it only takes one time for that dog to lose its temper, bite a child and then the dog owner is in serious trouble.
The good news is, if you have adequate liability coverage on your homeowners policy without any exclusions for a dog bite, and you have an extra layer of liability coverage (an umbrella policy) that extends above the limit of coverage on your homeowners policy, you can rest a little easier and enjoy all the pleasures of your lovable pet.
If you’re concerned that your current liability protection might not be adequate, feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help!