Renters Insurance with Dog

Homeowners with dog and renters with dog insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability. Most policies provide $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. If the claim exceeds the limit, the dog owner is responsible for all damages above that amount, including legal expenses. Most insurance companies insure homeowners with dogs. However, once a dog has bitten someone, it poses an increased risk. In that instance, the insurance company may suggest that the homeowner find the dog a new home, or may charge a higher premium, non-renew the homeowner's insurance policy, or exclude the dog from coverage. If these moves seem drastic just look at these statistics and you will understand why it is that the insurance companies are trying to limit their losses. In 2005 dog bites cost insurers $317.2 million, little changed from $321.6 million in 2003 but down 8 percent from $345.5 million in 2002. While the number of claims paid by insurers fell from approximately 20,800 in 2002 to 15,000 in 2005 -- a decrease of 28 percent -- the cost of the average dog bite claim rose sharply, from roughly $16,600 in 2002 to $21,200 in 2005. Liability claims account for approximately 4 percent of homeowner's claims. Dog bite claims in 2005 accounted for about 15 percent of liability claims dollars paid under homeowner's insurance policies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, resulting in an estimated 800,000 injuries that require medical attention. With over 50 percent of the bites occurring on the dog owner's property, the issue is a major source of concern for insurers.

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