Everyone has had run ins with animals and pets, whether they’re your own or a friend’s. I’m specifically talking about dogs here, they can be lovable furry friends for anyone, but unfortunately, they can also be a liability for homeowners as well. Almost half of all homes in America have a dog as a pet, and that means that half of all homes in America face additional liability risks. Illinois homeowners insurance customers are no different. According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2018.
Luckily for Illinois homeowners insurance clients, as well as any home insurance policy holder throughout the nation, dog bites are covered under the home’s liability clause. Just like any other facet of insurance, it a bite were to happen, you may see a spike in your premiums following Fido’s misstep.
About 4.5 million Americans are bitten by a dog every year and about a quarter of those individuals require some time of medical attention. This is a significant factor that goes into any Illinois homeowners insurance policy. The total cost of all the claims are high and looking at them from an individual case basis doesn’t help matters. The average cost per claim in 2018 was $39,017, yes you read that correctly.
Tips for Preventing Dog Bites:
- Adopt from a well-managed shelter: When you think about getting a dog, think about adopting one from a well-managed shelter or reputable breeder. Staff members should be knowledgeable about the dog’s behavior and personality. It’s a good idea to avoid pet stores as well, since many dogs in pet stores can be from a puppy mill. Dogs in puppy mills are exposed to crowded conditions and they may also be exposed to unsanitary conditions, causing these dogs to have behavioral issues. Please do not buy a dog from an Internet ad or newspaper ad; people who sell these does are most likely backyard breeders.
- Train your dog: One of the best things you can do to keep a dog from biting is to train him or her. There are many books and DVDs that discuss dog training in detail. You can also see help from a professional dog trainer or visiting PetSmart for training classes.
- Wait until your kids are older: If you have small kids, you may want to consider waiting until they are older before getting a dog. Young kids are more likely to be bitten by a dog. Some experts advise to wait until your child is at least ten years old before getting a dog.
This is a lot of food for thought in this blog, especially if you are looking to add a dog to your family. Don’t get us wrong, we love animals, but we just want you to know how dogs may affect your Illinois homeowners insurance policy. There are certain dog breeds that unfortunately have the data against them, like Rottweilers and Pit Bulls and there is no way around it.
R.C. Keller & Company is your local Schaumburg independent insurance agent, which means we do the shopping for you. We are able to work with multiple insurance carriers to find you the best price without skimping on coverage.