Dog Bites Represent More Than One-Third of Home Insurance Claims

A new report from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) revealed that dog bites represented more than one third of home insurance claims in 2010. Despite this high number of claims, the I.I.I. found that dog bites remained relatively consistent with those in the year prior.

Nearly $413 Million Paid in Liability Claims

According to the I.I.I., nearly $413 million was paid out in home insurance claims as a result of dog bites. While the total claims payouts were slightly higher than in 2009, the number of dog bites claims decreased to 15,770 in 2010 from 16,586 a year prior.

Some reasons for the rise in claims payouts despite the decrease in claims made were increases in medical costs, the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards to plaintiffs.

Learn More during National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 15-21

The I.I.I. report was released right in time for National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is May 15-21, 2011. This week aims to increase awareness of how home insurance policies cover dog bites, as well as providing education to dog owners and others on ways to prevent attacks.

It’s good to know that most standard homeowners insurance policies provide dog bite liability protection. Coverage amounts usually fall into the range of $100,000 to $300,000 for a standard policy. Companies also often offer umbrella policies that provide more coverage.

Remember, while most insurance companies don’t turn a homeowner away from coverage because they own a dog, they could be turned down if the dog ever bites someone.

So take steps to protect others from bites, including choosing the right breed, using a leash, training and socializing your dog and even asking for outside help to avoid joining the ranks of others who have had to file claims to pay someone because their dog was aggressive.