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Insurance and Dog Owners

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Did you know that dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance claim dollars paid out in 2012? According to the Insurance Information Institute (III) the average cost of a dog bite claim was $29,752.

Even the nicest dogs can bite so it is very important that you have appropriate liability coverage if you are a dog owner.

Most homeowner policies will provide liability coverage of $100,000 to $300,000. If a claim exceeds the limit the dog owner will be responsible for all damages above the limit. Due to the high cost of dog bite claims some insurance companies are charging more to cover owners of certain breeds that they deem dangerous or denying coverage altogether.

If you are a dog owner it is important to read your policy very carefully to understand any limits or exclusions. Some insurance companies may explicitly exclude dog bites from liability coverage or exclude certain breeds. Others might limit the number of times the policy will pay for losses incurred by a bite, limit how much will be paid or limit who is covered by the policy.

It is our recommendation that all dog owners get a $1 million umbrella policy to cover claims above their policies. An umbrella policy is a good idea for everyone anyway, but especially for dogowners.

Of course, the best protection is to prevent dog bites in the first place. Don’t leave children unattended with a dog, don’t approach unknown dogs and never disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating or protecting its puppies. You can find more tips on preventing dog bites, as well as dealing with a dog who is showing aggression on the website of Animal Medical Center of Chandler. Here are links to some of their articles:

Dog Behavior Problems – Aggression – Children

Dog Behavior Problems – Aggression – Getting Started – Safety and Management

If you have questions about dealing with dog behavior problems, we encourage you to call Andrea Stickland, DVM, at Animal Medical Center of Chandler at 480.339.0406.

If you’re not sure that your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy is giving you the right coverage and protection as a dog owner, give us a call. We’ll be happy to review your policy and give you recommendations.


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