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Is Your Beloved Fido A Very Expensive Liability?

The cost of having a pet on your homeowners insurance

We know you love your dog and of course you would never want your dog to hurt another person for no reason. But they are still animals and don't speak the same language as us. They may be great protectors of you, your family and your home but might not quite understand the fine line of when you are safe or not. 

30% of liability claims, from dog-related issues

Sadly, dogs and dog-related losses do take up about 1/3 of the homeowners insurance liability claims.  This is according to the Insurance Journal, that in 2017, dog-related issues cost insurance claims to the tune of $700 million. That's right, your beloved Fido and his furry friends caused that much damage.  We get it, we are sure they just didn't attack someone out of the blue, and for no reason and we can't say case by case what the issues were, but that right there is just point in case of why you want to have enough liability, or maybe an umbrella policy to protect yourself.

III Analysis of dog bite growth

Analysis from the Insurance Information Institute (III) analysed homeowners insurance data and was able to determine that the actual number of claims from dog bites, nationally, increased 2.2% from 2016 to 2017. While that sounds small, the 2%, but when the claims were 18,122 in 2016 and increased to 18,522, that is still a lot of dog bites, who knew!!!

And those additional 2.2% claims, the average cost increased 11.5%!  So, think about that, 2016 saw claims in the amount of $37,230, so with an average cost increse of 11.5% and for 2.2% more claims, in just a year, that's a lot of claim dollars.  It is estimated that the increase in average cost being due to the severity of the injuries.

Furthermore, these numbers (average cost per claim) rose 90% from 2003 to 2017.  Again, figuring increased medical costs which equate to larger settlements, larger and more judgements and then more money given to plaintiffs in jury settlement awards.

So what does that mean?

Dog claim increases cause shifts

Well, the insurance companies are surely not going to keep eating these costs, but will start to increase premiums for homes with pets, or rather certain type of pets and breeds or exclude certain coverages to homes that have specific breeds or prior dog-related incidents/claims.

Shifting insurance with pets

I mean it's almost like having an antique car versus a brand new Navigator versus a used 20 year old Honda. They all will have different liability, just like the person who sits behind the wheel and their history will drive (no pun intended) different insurance premiums.

What you should do

So, at the end of the day, we want you to have your pet, but you need to let us know and let's have a conversation so we can ensure that your family, including your pet are covered properly, maybe pet insurance, and enough liability coverage incase Fido gets a little over protective when it's not warranted. Or even if you aren't at fault and the other "guy" decides to sue for civil charges, that you are covered the best you can be.

We will do what we can to review your personal coverages to be sure you are protect from every direction.

We all love animals.  I LOVE my dogs.  Unfortunately, our beloved animals can create a very expensive liability for us should they bite a visitor in our home.  It’s very important to use restraint and safety measures to prevent this from happening.

Contact Harbour Insurance Services at (281) 520-4090 and let's chat about your home insurance coverage today.