Dogs and Umbrella Coverage

Kathryn PaviaGeneral Insurance Tips, Risk Protection

Love Bites—Get Umbrella Coverage

It seems everyone is pinching pennies these days.  So why worry about umbrella coverage?  Shouldn’t a home and auto policy leave you adequately covered?

Unfortunately, we live in a world of lawsuits.  Large damages can be awarded, be extremely expensive and have long-term financial impact.  Those lawsuits can come from unlikely sources, such as our furry friends.  Your homeowners policy might not be enough-you may need umbrella coverage to ensure you are protected.

The facts

More than a third of homeowners liability claims arise from dog bites, according to a 2016 Insurance Information Institute report.  Also, the average dog bite claim cost $37,214 in 2015, which is a 94% increase since 2003.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Half of those occur on the owner’s property.  Dog bites, according to the Insurance Information Institute, account for about a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims, which only cover limited damages.

Our furry friends can put your assets at risk in other ways as well

Take Herschel for instance.  Herschel is a much-loved, rather timid labradoodle who enjoys taking naps on the driveway while his owner mows the lawn.

Herschel watched from eight feet away as his neighbor, a 39 year old man, showed off his rollerblading skills to his kids.  The man wiped out on the sidewalk in front of Herschel’s house and broke his leg.  He required surgery, costing around $35,000 in medical costs and $18,000 in lost wages.

Fair or not, the man brought a lawsuit against Herschel’s owner, suing for $220,000 in damages.  He alleged that Herschel had caused the accident by getting in his way, despite multiple witnesses to the contrary.

But Herschel’s owner was lucky–a jury vindicated Herschel. However, lawsuits such as these can easily exceed the limits on a homeowner’s policy, leaving the insured responsible for the remainder.  An umbrella policy would prevent that, giving you an extra $1 million to $5 million in coverage.

Protect what you love.  Call us to talk about your umbrella options.


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