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Americans love their pets, as evidenced by the millions of dogs and cats found in American households. Unfortunately, there are many negative encounters with dogs, and roughly 800,000 people seek medical attention for dog bites annually. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that in 2021 insurers paid out $881 million for dog bites and other dog-related injuries and that the average cost for dog bite claims was $49,025.

For a time insurers would have lists of dog breeds that they would not provide coverage for; homeowners with those dogs were ineligible for coverage. States also had breed restrictions, but those restrictions have changed over time and now refer to the temperament of the animal more than the breed. Information can be found in the following charts: Dog Bite Statutes Part I – Liability Laws; Dog Bite Statutes Part II—Definition of “Dangerous”; Dog Bite Statutes Part III—Leash Laws.

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Christine G. Barlow, CPCU

Christine G. Barlow, CPCU, is Executive Editor of FC&S Expert Coverage Interpretation, a division of National Underwriter Company and ALM. Christine has over thirty years’ experience in the insurance industry, beginning as a claims adjuster then working as an underwriter and underwriting supervisor handling personal lines. Christine regularly presents and moderates webinars on a variety of topics and is an experienced presenter.  

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