More than one of every three homeowners insurance liability claim dollars that were paid out in 2011 resulted from dog bites, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) said in a recent report.
According to the I.I.I., total home insurance liability costs due to dog bites totaled nearly $479 million in 2011.
One insurance company alone – State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company – paid out more than $109 million for dog bite claims in 2011.
The average cost per dog bit claim rose 12.3 percent from 2010 to 2011, the I.I.I. noted. The average payout in 2010 was $26,166, but that amount rose to $29,396 in 2011. Even more, the average amount from 2011 is 53.4 percent higher than that from 2003.
The aforementioned increases are, in part, a result of rising medical costs associated with these events, the I.I.I. said.
According to the I.I.I., most insurance companies will offer home insurance policies to homeowners who own dogs. Some rules and restrictions may apply, though.
For example, a dog may be excluded from coverage or home insurance rates may rise if a dog has bitten someone. Other insurance companies may, in some instances, require dog training classes in order to obtain liability coverage.
For homeowners looking to obtain coverage above and beyond that offered in their standard home insurance policy, an umbrella liability policy may be an option to consider, the I.I.I. suggested.