Dogs are “Mans Best Friend” but the average insurance claim in one state, involving a dog bite is $56,628. New York and California are the leading states in the number of claims and nationwide wide the average claim payout is $32,072.
More then just a bite
Generally we think of large dogs like German Shepherds, Pit-bulls and Rottweilers, but in reality all breeds may cause a insurance claim that is for other events than bites. Dogs may also cause people to trip, the elderly to fall, kids to fall over on bicycles, and damage peoples property. Different states have different laws and regulations, even cities and local municipalities have varies regulations.
Tips to help sellers to avoid litigation
1. Recognize that dogs are often protective of their home “turf” and may get aggressive around strangers, even small lovable dogs.
2. Realize that they may be sued not only for medical expenses, but also for “pain and suffering”, “emotional distress”, and there could be punitive damages added to all of these.
3. Sellers should review their homeowners insurance policy to verify that they are covered for dog bites to prospective buyers and agents, for medical expenses and make sure that their breed of dog is not excluded form coverage.
Check the gate latches and fences with a gap
With pets it is wise to check that the the gates will latch and that they operate smoothly. At times wooden fences may need planks or post replaced. Usually these types of repairs are easy to make yourself or by a handyman.
Keeping the fences and gates maintained helps keep the pets in, but also provides protection for them. 83,000,000 million homes have pets and 4.5 million people get bites that require medical attention every year.
Home owners insurance and pet insurance
Many home owner insurance policy will cover pet legal issues. Normally they will have limits or restrictions. Take a look at your policy to see if it covers your needs and pet the way you wish. Another option sellers can look at is a special policy designed for pets, including medical.