Dog Bite Blues
Total cost of dog-bite claims is on the rise.
According to a recent study by the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for one-third of all Nj homeowners insurance liability claims last year. The total cost of dog-bite claims was $413 million last year. The average claim paid to a victim of a bite was $26,166, up 5.3% from $24,840 in 2009. The average claim cost has increased 37% since 2003, despite a drop in the total number of claims. "The average cost per claim has risen over the last eight years (2003-2010), which can be attributed to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which have risen well above the rate of inflation in recent years," said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Institute.
Standard NJ homeowners insurance policies cover dog-bite liability between $100,000 and $300,000 in coverage. Renter’s insurance policies also typically cover dog bites. If a person is bitten, sues the homeowner and is awarded more than the maximum insurance payout, then the homeowner is personally responsible for paying the remaining amount. With verdicts like these, if you own a dog, you should really think of purchasing a NJ personal umbrella insurance policy for at least $1,000,000.
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