Did you know that more than 4.7 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year? Roughly 900,000 of those people require medical attention as a result of the bites, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dog bites accounted for more than 1/3 of all home insurance liability claims paid out in 2009, equaling $412 million in costs. During the last six years, the cost of the average dog bite lawsuit has been growing by almost 30 percent: in 2009 the average lawsuit was $24,840 – rising slightly from $24,461 in 2008. The lawsuit costs are rising due mainly to increased medical expenses, and they’re rising fast.
Think your dog could never attack anyone? Neither did the owner of the bulldog who bit off a woman’s in 2006. The Santa Rosa bulldog owner insisted that the animal had never bitten anyone or acted aggressively, but ended up paying out a $1 million lawsuit.
These dog bite lawsuits can be a major headache for dog owners – especially because it’s already difficult to get a home insurance policy if you have a certain breed. The difficulty and expenses may grow if these dog bite lawsuits continue to increase.
So what’s the best advice for dog owners?
If you’re having trouble with a dog you already own, the best thing to do is to prove that the dog has completed an obedience program.
If you don’t yet have a dog but are planning to own one, be careful when choosing one. The current leading types of “red-flag dogs” are Pit Bulls, Chows, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Presa Canarios, Rottweilers, Siberian Huskies, wolf hybrids, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers – but the list is always growing and changing.
You may also want to invest into an umbrella policy. If your fuzzy little friend decides to attack someone and that someone decides to file a claim, an umbrella policy will provide you more protection than just having a regular homeowners policy. Having an umbrella policy has gotten many dog owners out of some sticky scrapes.
For more information on homeowners insurance or umbrella policies, contact us today! At Dagley Insurance, we specialize in Texas and Colorado home and umbrella insurance, and lots more. Visit www.dagleyins.com today!