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Do I Need Dog Liability Insurance?

By January 4, 2019Insurance Tips

Dog bite claims are on the rise nationally. Animal liability insurance helps protect you from paying costly medical bills and defense costs out of pocket.

Dog Bite Statistics

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites make up over 1/3 of all homeowners insurance liability claims. The average claim was $37,051 in 2017. Ohio has the 4th highest number of claims, with insurance companies paying out more than $5,000,000. The average cost per claim has also increased in recent years. This may be due to an increase in severity, higher medical costs, and judgment awards to plaintiffs.

Here are a few real-life claim examples:

  1. You are walking your dog and someone bends down to pet him. The dog nips at the neighbor’s hand and your neighbor has to get stitches and a rabies shot. Damages Awarded: $25,000
  2. Your dog lunges at your neighbor, causing him to fall and break his wrist. Damages Awarded: $37,000

How do I get animal liability insurance?

Animal liability insurance is typically included within the liability coverage of your home insurance policy. However, there are a small number of carriers that will exclude animal liability. A few insurers only offer it with an add-on coverage for an additional premium. Lastly, if you have a prohibited breed that the insurance carrier will not insure, you may find yourself being denied coverage entirely.

Common “Prohibited” Dog Breeds
  • Akitas
  • Chow Chows
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • German Shepherds
  • Huskies
  • Pit Bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • Wolf Hybrids

We recommend carrying at minimum $300,000 in personal liability coverage. Umbrella insurance policies are inexpensive and can provide upwards of $1,000,000 in additional coverage to protect your pocketbook, too. Are you unsure if you have adequate animal liability protection? Contact an account manager at Evarts Tremaine for more insight.

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