2007 Dog Bite Claims Data
The Insurance Information Institute (III) has released 2007 data for dog bite claims. The cost of dog bite claims is rising. In 2005, the average claim was $21,200. In 2007, this cost rose to $24,511. The data also revealed that dog bite claims accounted for 5% of all homeowners insurance losses in 2006. In 2005, they accounted for 15%. The 10% percent dip is left unexplained.
"In 2007 dog bites cost insurers $356.2 million, up 10.5 percent from the previous year. The average cost of dog bite claims increased by 11.5 percent to $24,511 during the same period. The number of claims paid by insurers has remained relatively stable over the past three years at 14,295 in 2005, 14,661 in 2006 and 14,531 in 2007. Liability claims, including dog bite claims, accounted for about 5 percent of all homeowners insurance losses in 2006 (latest data available)."
State Legislation and Court Decisions
The organization also highlights key legislative issues. According to the III, "Insurers generally oppose legislation that would require changes to their dog breed practices." Insurance companies are a thorn in the pit bull lobby's side. Providers do not want to be forced to insure dangerous dog breeds. They understand that certain breeds of dogs pose "higher loss risks."
- Dog owners in 33 states and the District of Columbia are currently legally liable for deaths or injuries caused by their dogs.
- Two states, Pennsylvania and Michigan, have laws that prohibit insurers from canceling or denying coverage to the owners of particular dog breeds. According to the American Kennel Club, several states -- including Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Vermont and Washington -- have similar bills pending.
- The American Kennel Club also reports that over the last two years nearly 100 municipalities have enacted bans on specific breeds.
- Several states, however, -- including California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia -- have laws barring municipalities and counties from targeting individual breeds.
- In August 2008, a Minnesota law increasing the surety bond and liability limits that owners of dangerous dogs must possess became effective. The amount was raised from 50,000 to $300,000 which is the highest amount we have seen.
08/14/08: Comment: Reporting a Dangerous Pit Bull as Suspected Insurance Fraud
02/26/08: Bill Preventing Dog Breed Discrimination Advances
01/30/08: Insurers Reluctant to Insure Dangerous Dog Breeds