Dog Bites Person: That Will Be $40,000, Please…


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One day, you are sure your beloved Fido could never hurt a fly.

The next, you are shelling out almost $40,000 for a dog-bite claim. Many dog owners can relate to this: last year, more than one-third of the funds paid out for homeowners insurance liability claims was the result of bites and other injuries by dogs. The average cost paid was $37,214. This average has risen by a dramatic 94 percent since 2003, due to increases in settlement amounts and the increased cost of medical care.



With these stats in mind, it is essential that dog owners take steps to minimize those dog-bites-person incidents. Follow these C.A.N.I.N.E. tips to reduce the chance that Fido’s actions cause an injury that results in a hefty insurance claim:

  • Consult with a vet or breeder before getting a dog to determine what kind is best for your family and neighborhood.
  • Always keep your dog secured if someone comes to your door. And don’t forget to securely fasten your dog’s leash before a walk.
  • Never leave young children alone with any dog. And never allow children to disturb a dog that is sleeping or eating.
  • Immediately seek professional help if your dog becomes aggressive. There may be health issues involved, or your dog may simply need more training.
  • Never approach a strange dog (either alone or with your dog).
  • Expose your dog to other animals and people slowly and carefully to develop healthy socialization.

Even with these precautions in place, dog owners should have an insurance policy to cover any potential dog incidents. Homeowners and renter’s insurance typically cover dog bites; however, there are some exclusions, so you may need umbrella coverage to increase your limits to an appropriate level. Breed-specific policies are also available.

Check with your insurance agent to verify you have the proper coverage to protect yourself and your pooch.