Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A recent study by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) shows dog bite claims cost nearly $390 million annually. According to the study, dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims, costing $387.20 million in 2008, up 8.70 percent from 2007. Since 2003, the average cost of these claims ($24,461 in 2008) has risen nearly 28 percent. Additionally, the number of claims has increased 8.89 percent to 15,823 in 2008 from 14,531 in 2007.
The I.I.I. data certainly legitimizes a public policy discussion on the topic. Yet it is important to point out two aspects of the data as well:
- How does the data reflect the average pit bull owner and pit bull bite claim given that most homeowners insurance providers exclude pit bulls, rottweilers and other "high risk" dog breeds from their coverage?
- The data only shows the cost of the homeowner. It does not show the many costs paid by renters insurance, health insurance, workers compensation insurance and public programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.
Q: Who wants to pay for the cost of a pit bull or rottweiler bite?
A: Not most insurers.
In Ohio, where $100,000 liability insurance is required by pit bull owners, the cost is about $50-$65 per month and up to $800 annually. This applies to a pit bull that does not have a bite record. The pit bull policy has a $5,000 deductible and is separate from a homeowners policy. According to the I.I.I., the average premium for homeowners insurance was $804 in 2006, which includes dog bite coverage, but excludes pit bull coverage, as such policies typically do not cover the breed.
It's interesting that the cost of insuring one pit bull with no previous bites is similar to the cost of ensuring a whole home with an average value of $265,000.
11/19/08: $495,000 Settlement for New Jersey Woman Mauled by a Pit Bull
10/16/08: Omaha Pit Bull Owners Surprised That Getting Insurance is Tough
06/19/08: Flashback: $500,000 Award for Pain in Pit Bull Attack
06/11/08: Pit Bull Victim Alan Hill Awarded $7.25 Million Dollars
| 9/23/2009 9:49 PM |
Thanks for the details on this....I don't know of many individuals who would want to adopt a pit bull if they were told up front that it would cost them an additional $8000.00 or more, over the lifetime of the dog, just to insure it.
I live in Massachusetts, where no private insurers will insure a home with a pit bull. The two insurers in the country who still do...State Farm and Farmers...are not available in Mass. Rescue groups NEVER tell prospective adopters this fact...instead, they coach people to lie about the dogs breed. I believe their are ethical, and possibly legal issues involved when non-profit organizations deliberately tell adopters to lie to their insurers.
I think it is extremely important to educate the public about the insurance issues surrounding these dogs...no one wants to control the breeding, because pit bull advocates labor under the delusion that there are plenty of good homes available for pit bulls. Unfortunately, responsible potential adopters... 1.don't want dogs that want to kill other dogs, 2. are responsible enough to know that the risk of owning an uninsured dog is not worth it.
Responsible dog owners don't want pit bulls as pets....the more we can educate the public about the reality of owning a dangerous breed, the more likely the public will support restrictions on breeding these animals.
| 9/23/2009 10:02 PM |
Why does it not surprise me that pit bull "rescue" groups NEVER tell prospective adopters about this insurance caveat?
James Harrison's Pit Bull "Patron" is Up for Adoption Under New Breed Name
| 9/24/2009 2:21 PM |
When we talk about the risk that pit bulls pose to members of a community...the risk is higher for pit bulls than other dogs, in part because the MAJORITY of pet pit bulls are NOT insured. If a neighbors pet Golden Retreiver bites a child in the face, there is a much greater chance that the victim will have some financial recourse to pay for reconstructive surgery. With a pit bull, there is very little chance the victim will be able to litigate and be compensated. Its one more reason that pit bulls are MORE risky to have in community than other breeds.
| 9/24/2009 3:14 PM |
I do know someone who lost their insurance because the adjuster saw a pit bull in the yard. There was no fence and the dog didn't even belong there. But didn't matter, insurance was cancelled. And once your homeowner insurance is cancelled, then it is tough to get it again. Plus they will send an adjuster and you won't know when they are watching. Just doesn't happen enough.
| 9/25/2009 1:50 AM |
Faulty assumption here...That the majority of Pit owners even consider insuring their dogs. Even in Ohio where there are criminal penalties for not doing so, it is rare to see an owner have the mandated insurance in the mauling stories.
Enter now the question: What is the cost of a Level 5 Pit mauling and who pays for it?
| 9/25/2009 10:41 AM |
The pit bull and dog fighter crowd have been trying to pass laws to force insurance companies (in other words, US) to pay for pit bulls.
A lot of stupid, manipulative talk about "discrimination" despite the fact that the pit bull people discriminate and have breeds of dogs that kill people and rip off limbs.
| 9/25/2009 4:37 PM |
Any way to find out how many claims were filed and not paid when the insuranc company found out it was a pit? I think that would tell a tale or two. Also how many policies were cancelled because of having a pit.