How Owning Certain Dog Breeds Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance Rates
Home Insurance Editor
While dogs are often referred to as man's best friend, with one bite they can easily become a physical and financial enemy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for $351.4 million in home insurance claims in 2006. That is an increase of 10.8% from 2005.
Fact: Did you know the cost of the average dog bite to a home insurance policy is $21,200, accounting for about 4% of homeowners claims or 15% of homeowners liability claims.
The stark reality is that over 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States. Interestingly, more than half of bites occur on the owner’s property.
9 Most Dangerous Dogs According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC follows dog bites and dog related deaths. Accordingly, below you will find the 9 most dangerous dog breeds based on number of attack related deaths over a 10-year period. Interestingly, #1 and #2 combined total 60% of all attacks.
1. Pit Bull
Homeowners are financially liable for dog bites. Most homeowners and renters policies provide $100,000 to $300,000 in coverage for liability claims. However, anything over the policy limit is your responsibility.
Unfortunately, once a dog has bitten, it poses an increased risk of biting again. A survey among insurance companies showed that 70% of insurers would not renew a homeowner's policy after one dog bite.
To increase home security, consider buying an alarm system rather than a dog. An alarm may qualify for an insurance discount. OK, that's a joke, but failing to inform your home insurance carrier about your pet is not.
Carefully consider dog breeds before selecting a pet and consult a veterinarian for advice. Introduce new dogs slowly to new social situations. Never put a dog in a position where it feels threatened. Have the dog spayed or neutered. Unneutered dogs are three times more likely to bite than neutered dogs. Do not run past a dog or disturb it while it is eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Play non-aggressive games such as fetch with dogs. Playing aggressive games can encourage inappropriate behavior. Never approach a dog you don't know, and avoid teasing or eye contact with a dog that appears threatening. All parents, even those without family pets, should teach their children to be careful around animals.