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With dog bite claims accounting for over one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars in 2011, we remind dog owners to take preventative measures to protect themselves from the potentially serious financial consequences of aggressive canine behavior.

• Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for the insured’s household and neighborhood.

• Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with an infant or toddler. A dog with a history of aggression is inappropriate in a household with children.

• Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful of or apprehensive about a dog. If a child is or seems fearful or apprehensive, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.

• Have the dog spayed or neutered. Studies show that dogs are three times more likely to bite if they are NOT neutered.

• Socialize the dog so it knows how to act with other people and animals.

• Teach children to refrain from disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping.

• Play non-aggressive games with the dog, such as “go fetch.” Playing aggressive games like “tug-of-war” can encourage inappropriate behavior.

• Avoid exposing the dog to new situations in which the homeowner may be unsure of its response.

• Never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening.

• Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

In many cases, dog owners are covered to an extent from canine-inflicted injuries with a homeowner’s insurance policy. However, before adopting, rescuing or buying a dog, check with the insurance agent to see if the breed you are planning to add to the household can be covered. It is recommended to dog owners to consider obtaining an umbrella policy to add additional liability coverage. Dog bites and attacks can cause serious damage and can result in very expensive jury awards and court settlements. Umbrella policies not only provide an extra level of protection, but they are also relatively affordable. For example, increasing coverage with a $1 million-dollar personal umbrella policy can cost between $100 and $300 per year.


Want to get a quote for your Homeowners’ Insurance? Visit our website or call 877-239-0067.