Dogs and Insurance: How Do They Affect Your Policy?
I hope you are enjoying some of this nice weather, it has been a long time coming. I wanted to take a few minutes to educate you on dogs and how they factor into insurance policies. Many of us have dogs and our passion for them can be incredible – they certainly are part of our families. When we talk about our four-legged friends and insurance it can be a touchy discussion, so I will do my best to present all sides and explain why insurance companies take the positions they do when it comes to certain breeds of dogs.
Let me start with a few facts:
- According to the CDC, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs annually. Of those 4.5 million, 885,000 require medical attention.
- Statistically, a combination of molosser breeds (pit bulls, rottweilers, persa canarios, cane corsos, mastiffs, dogo argentionos, fila brasieros, sharpies, boxers, and their mixes) account for 9.2% of the total dog population
- The same group accounts for 86% of attacks that include bodily harm, 76% of attacks that result in fatalities, and 86% that result in maiming
- 33% of insurance carrier liability costs are related to dog bites
- The average liability claim payout dog-related injury claim was $37,051 in 2017
As you can see, the pet liability is a significant concern for the insurance carriers. Certainly, many individual factors influence a dog’s behavior and may contribute to the information above. However, insurance companies have to evaluate risk in terms of the entire group that shares similar risk characteristics for which there are sufficient history and data. Another great example of this is young drivers. They are involved in more crashes per mile than other age groups. While many may never crash or a file a claim, it’s nearly impossible to predict which of them will not behave as group statistics would predict.
This holds true for dogs as well. We also know through experience that certain groups/breeds have produced more severe results. While treating them as a group seems unfair, again, it’s difficult to try and determine which not behave as historical data suggests.
Things to watch out for on your insurance coverage:
- Most carriers will prohibit coverage for some or all of the breeds listed above
- Some will limit the coverage with a sub-limit for animal liability
- Generally, if you have an animal liability claim, the insurance carrier will drop coverage unless the animal is no longer present in the household
If you have animals and would like further clarification, please consult your insurance professional for a consultation.
As always, thanks for allowing us to protect your families.