A study by the Insurance Information Institute shows that dog bite insurance claims cost the insurance industry $356.2 million in 2007. Some of those claims involved serious injuries caused by certain breeds of dogs that tend to cause more serious injuries. These breeds include: wolf hybrids, Akitas, American Bandogge Mastiffs, Boerboels, Chow-Chows, Doberman pinschers, Rotweillers, and Pit Bull breeds. Because of the expense of the claims associated with dog bite attacks by these breeds, some homeowner’s insurance policies have begun to exclude injuries caused by those dog breeds (including mixed breeds) from coverage. That means that if you own a dog that is one of those breeds or a mix of those breeds (such as a pit bull-lab mix) and your dog bites someone, you have no insurance coverage for the resulting injuries.All dog owners should take a few steps to make sure that they have coverage:
- Review their homeowner’s policy for any breed-specific exclusion;
- Watch carefully for any notices of changes in policy terms;
- Disclose to your homeowner’s carrier that you have a dog and the breed of dog;
- Consult with your agent to make sure that you are covered for injuries caused by your dog; and
- If your dog is excluded from coverage, switch carriers. Dog bite settlements can be quite substantial and you do not want to be without coverage.