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Most of us never think our 4-legged friends would ever bite somebody. But accidents do happen. And as much as they’re part of the family, our dogs are still animals. Even the sweetest dogs can feel the need to defend themselves if they feel scared or threatened.
Regardless of how it happens, if your dog bites someone, you are responsible for any injuries that happen – on or off your property. And the average dog bite claim cost is nearly $40,000!
According to Insurance Information Institute, the average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $39,017 in 2018, and the average cost per claim is rising. It went up more than 103% in a recent 15-year period, the institute states, due to increased medical costs and settlement size.
Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically cover legal expenses related to dog bite liability. If a claim is more than your liability limit, which often ranges from $100,000 to $300,000, you are responsible for any extra costs. Make sure to discuss liability limits with your insurance agent – especially if you have a dog.
Some dogs are on an “excluded” list preventing their owners from getting insurance from some companies – or they might charge more for certain breeds. Other companies make their decisions on a case-by-case basis. And some will offer coverage as long as the owner takes the dog to behavior-modifying classes.
Dogs that have bitten someone pose an increased risk, so an insurance company might charge more for coverage, opt not to renew the homeowner’s insurance policy or exclude the dog from coverage.
If you have a dog, check your homeowners’ liability limit. We recommend having a minimum $500,000 limit, but usually for less than $2 to $3 more a month, you can increase that to a $1 million limit. It’s also a good idea to consider an umbrella policy, for that added level of protection in case the worst does happen.
If you want a quote or have questions about a specific dog breed, call our office at 800-369-2501 or request a quote online.
Bell Insurance Services, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Bank. Products and services offered through Bell Insurance are: Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value | Not A Deposit | Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency.