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Insurance rates might bite if you own one of these 11 dogs

A recent column in an insurance industry publication says both dog bites and the costs of those bites are increasing.

With both on the rise, Wisconsin insurance companies are increasingly offering resistance to covering homeowners who have pets that include any of a list of 11 types of dogs, including mixes of dogs involving the types.

Last month, as we wrote in this space, the Insurance Information Institute issued a report that said dog bites are now accounting for more than a third of all homeowner insurance liability claims.

Insurance carriers paid out nearly $479 million on dog bite claims last year; an increase of 3.3 percent from 2010. There were 15,770 dog bite claims in 2010, rising to 16,292 last year.

The average cost of a dog bite claim rose even faster: 12.3 percent in just one year, going from $26,166 in 2010 up to $29,396 last year.

It's probably not surprising then that insurers, faced with those bites into their bottom lines are increasingly reluctant to insure homeowners with the following types of dogs in their homes:

  • Pit bulls and Staffordshire terriers
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • German shepherds
  • Chows
  • Great Danes
  • Presa Canarios
  • Akitas
  • Alaskan malamutes
  • Siberian huskies
  • Wolf hybrids

State Farm Insurance reports that "there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed" and that the tendency for an individual dog to bite depends on a variety of factors. Those aspects of the dog include obedience training, socialization, the health of the dog, heredity, and the behavior of the dog bite victim.

Source: Business Insurance, "OFF BEAT: Certain dog breeds cause insurers to tuck their tails between their legs," May 30, 2012

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