Recently, I read an article in the Denver Post explaining how dog bite incidents are on the rise though out the country. As I recall, the article also explained as to how a claim can be made against the owner of the vicious dog though the owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s policy. What the Post did not indicate is that insurance policies are now being written which exclude certain dogs. For the most part, these “exclusions” are being written in by smaller not larger insurance companies.
Furthermore, it is not just the breed of dogs typically thought of as aggressive, such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, chow chows, Doberman pinscher and German shepherds. There is no standard list that insurance companies maintain to determine if a certain breed of dog is “aggressive”. According to the Humane Society of theUnited States, the bite list changes from year to year and from one area of the country to another, depending on the popularity of the breed. The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior has reported that dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Jack Russell terriers are the most likely to bite.
According to Ashley Hunter, owner and president of HM Risk Group, an insurance and risk management brokerage in Austin,Texas, insurance companies go by the average number of bites reported by a certain breed as to when they decide to exclude a certain breed of dog. The latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute, an industry association in New York, show that the average cost of a dog bite claim nationwide was $26,166.00 in 2010. This figure is up 5.3 percent from 2009. In addition, dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners’ claims.
If you are considering acquiring a dog, and want to protect yourself from not having insurance coverage if your dog bites another person, contact your agent prior to buying the dog. Do not under any circumstances misrepresent the breed your dog is since this could result in the insurance company denying your claim entirely.