In Florida, there is a statewide ban on breed-specific legislation when it comes to homeowners’ insurance and dogs. This means that no matter what type of dog you own, your insurance carrier can’t discriminate against your breed to raise your rate or deny you coverage. However, it is imperative to have a homeowners’ policy that covers dog bites, no matter what kind of breed you have. Dog bite insurance claims are on the rise nationwide, and settlements for such cases are getting bigger every year.
Dog Bite Lawsuit Statistics
Nationwide, dog-bite insurance claims totaled more than $400 million in 2009. The Insurance Information Institute started tracking these incidents in 2003, and this is the highest level since recordkeeping began. Although there is no single explanation as to the rise in dog-bite insurance claims, the Institute’s experts say that the costs of dog bites has increased greatly as medical care costs rise, and as larger court settlements are being granted across the country.
Dog bites made up more than one-third of homeowners’ insurance liability claims in 2009, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. The total cost was $412 million, markedly higher than 2008’s $387.2 million in claims. The average cost per-claim was $24,840 in 2009, which was up 1.5 percent from 2008’s costs. Since 2003, dog-bite claim costs have risen 30 percent, but the actual number of claims is down 2 percent. In 2009, 16,586 dog bites were reported throughout the U.S.
Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies can both typically cover dog bite injuries, although each plan is certainly different. Most standard policies will offer anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000 in coverage. If a dog has attacked you or someone you love or if your dog has bitten someone else, it is critical that you contact a personal injury lawyer today to protect your rights.