Before you go reading too much into that, the number one state in the country for dog bite claims is California, but when you consider the populations of the respective states, you’ll see that per capita the story is essentially clickbait. First, consider the population of the states, the estimated number of dogs per population (1.6 dogs per household with 36 percent of households owning dogs), and the number of bite claims.
- California: 39.5 million people in 11,502,870 households. 4,141,033 of California households owning an estimated 6,625,652 dogs with 2,228 dog bite claims.
- Florida: 20.9 million people in 6,337,900 households. 2,281,644 of Florida households owning an estimated 3,650,630 dogs with 1,345 dog bite claims.
As you can see, the number of dog bite insurance claims looks high, especially considering that claims have doubled since 2003. The big story here is how much dog bite claims cost, which is a five-figure hit no matter which state you look at in the top ten, but in total costs nearly $700 billion per year. The Sun-Sentinel notes that with that kind of money, each county in Florida could have 21 shiny new Marlins stadiums.
How to Avoid Dog Bite Insurance Claims
One of the first things that you should do is talk to your insurance agent about your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. If you have a dog but have not told your insurance agent, now is the time! Moreover, be honest about having a dog, and the breed of dog in the home. Omitting or lying about these factors could result in not being covered should a biting incident occur. You’ll want to make sure that you have enough to cover the medical bills, and that includes ambulance, ER visit, surgery, rehabilitation, and other factors. Some insurance companies cap the amount that they will pay out for a dog bite insurance claim, so boost your coverage to $500,000 if your policy permits. Another option is to add an umbrella policy that covers claims outside of your regular policy’s limits.
Having a dog is a privilege and a responsibility. You owe it to your dog to give them the education that they need to be good citizens. To that end, training your dog is an investment in their future with you.
- Puppy Kindergarten: This is for pups 8 to 11 weeks old and covers four areas of curriculum – Household, Handling, Manners and Safety, and Socialization. Recommended for new owners and pups alike.
- Rescue Dogs often have deep trauma and exhibit signs of PTSD. Many were never trained, much less loved and cared for. Specialized training with an experienced trainer, in addition to love and kindness, can make sure that your home is their forever home. Search locally to find a program and trainer to help you.
- Canine Good Citizen: This program is often referred to as the gold standard for training your dog. In fact, having a CGC certification can lower your insurance premiums, and is quickly becoming a requirement among HOA and landlords.
Talk to your insurance agent today and learn how to cover your home and your pup for many happy years together.