Dangerous Dogs Pose Insurance Debate

By Christine McGrath
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Dogs are man’s best friend, but even your beloved family dog could attack someone and bring you into an expensive lawsuit. Even a normally docile dog can become overprotective and bite or otherwise injure someone without any warning, so we've done the research about insuring yourself in the unlikely event that your dog attacks someone.

It makes sense that there are better dogs to bring into the home than others. Some breeds have a more aggressive and potentially harmful history than that of another breed. It's wise to consult with your insurance agent before bringing any cute little canines home for good.
 
Insurers Getting Skittish
Just like owning a pool or trampoline, having liability insurance to cover dog bites or any other injury that may result from an animal attack is extremely vital. You may not be concerned about you or your family’s well-being, but having coverage to protect any guests or neighbors that may come in contact with your dog is important. Not all insurance companies will offer coverage for all breeds, so finding an insurance company willing to offer coverage for dog attacks can be tricky. In fact, some insurers are beginning to limit or deny coverage on certain types of dogs.

Why are some insurance companies apprehensive about insuring you from dog injuries? Take a minute to consider these facts provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DogBiteLaw.com:

  • One-third of all homeowner’s claims involve dog bites.
  • Dogs bite nearly 5 million Americans every year.
  • Children are the victims of most serious attacks.
  • Almost one in five dog attacks require medical attention, with reconstructive surgery often needed.
  • Dogs cause approximately $1 billion in medical and insurance losses annually.

With statistics like those, it's no wonder insurers are becoming more selective as to which household pets they will insure and why some homeowners insurance rates are higher for those with aggressive dogs.

Now you may be wondering which breeds are considered dangerous by insurance companies. The CDC published a list of the most dangerous breeds, and insurers tend to use it – along with other factors like the dog’s weight, age, gender and history – to determine liability insurance rates,.

For those who own one of these top 10 offending breeds, getting insured may present the most challenge:

  • Pit Bull Type
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Husky Type
  • Malamute
  • Wolf-Dog Hybrid
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman
  • Saint Bernard
  • Great Dane

If you own one of these breeds and are curious as to what it will cost to insure your dog, keep in mind that with the inflated cost of medical care, most experts recommend having at least $300,000 in dog bite coverage in case of severe injury. That could spare you from having to pay for medical expenses out of pocket if someone gets bitten.

Another factor that could raise your insurance costs is your dog's behavioral history. If your dog has bitten or attacked someone before, you might have to pay 30 to 50 percent more to insure it.

If you already have homeowners insurance and aren’t sure whether you are covered in the event your dog bites or injures someone, check with your insurance agent. Make sure to read the fine print and clarify how much coverage you do have. If you don’t have coverage for your animal, consider getting an umbrella policy. For more information on an umbrella policy, check out our Learning Center article “Umbrella Policies and How They Can Help You.”

Looking for homeowners insurance? Check out our Homeowners Insurance Review and compare over nine insurance companies and all the various coverage plans they offer. Enjoy your pets and have that peace of mind you need to do so.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™

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