According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, in the year 2018, around 90 million dogs were owned as pets in U.S. households. The same year witnessed 17,297 dog bite claims across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. This prompted vHomeInsurance to analyze the dog bite statistics over the last few years, including the most dangerous breeds and their impact on home insurance rates.
More than 700 cities in the U.S. have come up with breed-specific laws following numerous fatal attacks on humans by different dog breeds. For example, Pit bulls were involved in 284 fatal attacks in the period of 2005 - 2017. This accounted for about 66% of the total fatal attacks in the period. During the same time course, Rottweilers were involved in 45 fatal attacks. Owing to such disturbing statistics, most insurers refrain from providing policy coverages to households with dogs and have blacklisted certain breeds of dogs.
While the list of blacklisted dog breeds may vary from one home insurance company to another, Pit bulls manage to find a place among all the lists. Not just home insurance companies, several housing authorities have also banned Pit bulls. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in North America, has banned Pit Bulls along with Rottweilers and Dobermans from all of its housing facilities.
Bullmastiffs, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, Akitas, Great Danes, Siberian Huskies, Dobermans, and German Shepherds are some of the other aggressive breeds that are generally blacklisted by home insurance companies. Some insurers may provide home insurance policy excluding dogs. Even if the insurer covers dogs under the policy, the insurance rates of the policy will be higher than average.
The year 2017 marked the most number of dog bite claims and the highest value of claims with 18,522 and $686.3 million, respectively. The year 2018 witnessed a reduction of 6.6% in the number of claims registering 17,297 claims. The total value of claims also saw a reduction of 1.7% with $674.9 million. However, the average cost per claim saw an increase of 5.3% from $37,051 to $39,017. The total value of claims and the average cost per claim doubled from 2013 to 2018. The total value of claims witnessed an increase of 108.2%, and the average cost per claim witnessed an increase of 103.6% in the same time course.
Homeowners are entitled to inform insurance companies about the dog they own before the insurer underwrites the policies. Certain factors, such as the aggressive nature of dogs, age, size, and claims history, are taken into consideration before underwriting the policy. Having letters and certificates from veterinarians and pet institutions for dogs can help change insurers’ minds and avail home insurance policies at affordable insurance rates.