Some insurers raise rates before a dog ever bites a person – and some refuse to insure certain dogs at all
Dog owners think they will face a financial hit if they own a dog that bites a child or an adult, and the person hires an attorney like me to represent them. But here’s something you probably didn’t know – many dog owners will face a financial penalty whether their dog bites someone or not. You don’t need to receive a letter or a lawsuit from an attorney. You just need to own a certain breed of dog.
The type of dog you own, may cause you to have a much harder time getting homeowners insurance. Or the insurance company may cover the dog, but it’s going to cost you more money and raise your homeowners insurance rates. The reason: Insurers are more cautious of certain breeds and mixes they believe are more likely to bite and cause serious injuries.
Einhorn Insurance, a San Diego agency specializing in dog liability insurance, has compiled a list of the 10 breeds most often deemed dangerous by insurance companies:
- Pitt bulls and Staffordshire terriers
- Doberman pinschers
- Chow chows
- Great Dane
- Perro de Presa Canario
- Alaskan malamute
- German shepherds
- Siberian huskies
I find this list interesting. Our attorneys handle more serious dog bite cases. We also help people find qualified attorneys in dog bite cases where the injury is less serious. And although the vast majority of my own cases involve helping people hurt in car and truck accidents, I’ve helped many families who have been bit by a dog on this list.
Here’s my takeaway: Yes, there are very sweet pit bulls and rottweilers, but the perception of these dogs is just as important as the reality. It’s not just insurers who have a jaundiced or more wary eye toward the dogs on this list. The people who will be sitting on a jury one day almost certainly share a punitive eye and are more likely to award higher pain and suffering compensation in dog bite lawsuits involving many of the breeds that, as urban legend suggests, are more prone to dog bites. People may not know what a Perro de Presa Canario is, but people in Detroit know what a pit bull is.
For owners of these breeds, especially the more notorious ones, this creates the potential for a double whammy of financial hardship one day. Many dog owners are less likely to have insurance, or what you have will cost more. But if there’s a dog bite lawsuit involving one of the dogs on this list, you may be more likely to face a bigger trial verdict.