The cost of homeowners insurance can be impacted by a myriad of things, from crime rates to flood risk in the area. Many homeowners don’t expect the cost of a policy to depend on the breed of dog they own, but this does factor into the cost. One breed of dog that has received a lot of negative press lately in the pit bull – a breed of dog commonly used in dog fighting, and also a very common breed to see in shelters and rescues.
The HSUS estimates that there are over 84 million dog owners in the United States. Roughly 5% of these animals are classified as pit bulls. While homeowners insurance may exclude liability coverage for families that own pit bulls, they also may exclude other dogs believed to be aggressive, such as an Akita, Alaskan, Chow, Doberman Pincher, German Shepherd, Malamute, Presa Canario, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or Wolfdog.
A dog bite occurs in the United States every 75 seconds. Over 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites, and half of these are children. 386,000 will require treatment in an emergency room. The fifth most popular reason for a child visiting an emergency room is a dog bite. While a dog bite can be serious, the fatality risk is extremely low, at .000002%; fatalities are estimated at 16 per year. The average insurance payment for a dog-related injury is just over $21,000. Dog bites accounted for more than a third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars in 2011, and insurance companies dole out more than $1 billion in dog bite claims each year.
Every insurance company will have different rules and regulations when it comes to insuring a family that owns a dog classified as an aggressive breed. Some cities, counties, and states are now enacting breed-specific laws banning the aforementioned breeds all together, or holding owners to a higher standards of liability. On the other hand, many insurance agencies still offer affordable homeowners insurance, along with other policy options, that will include coverage for your four-legged family member, no matter what the breed.
If you own a dog on the aggressive dog list, here are a few tips to help you obtain insurance to cover any dog-related incidents:
It’s also important to socialize your pet with other animals and people. Exposing your dog to strangers, along with strange dogs, is an important part of developing a safe family member. You may also consider finding a dog trainer to help you with this process.
Nobody expects a dog bite to happen. Taking the proper precautions and having adequate insurance can make the difference between financial stability and financial ruin after a dog bite. Your Trusted Choice independent agent is a great resource for you and can help make sure you and your pit bull are protected.