Homeowners’ Insurance carriers are in the dog house, at least in my book. Here’s why: In the past few years, in greater and greater numbers, homeowners’ insurance carriers are, unbeknownst to their insureds, slipping “dog exclusions” into their insurance policies. They exclude coverage for any injury caused by dogs, including, of course, dog bites.
Me and my New York dog bite lawyer brethren first started seeing dog bite exclusions pop up in homeowners’ insurance policies a few years ago. At first, they excluded only certain breeds of dogs, those deemed especially aggressive such as pit bulls. But more and more we are seeing outright exclusions for all dogs, without regard to the breed. In other words, Insurance companies are becoming equal opportunity dog excluders.
Why is this problem? Actually, it’s a dog-gone rip off. You see, one-third of all injury claims brought against homeowners are for dog bites. But when they exclude coverage for dog bites, they don’t offer you a 1/3 discount. In fact, they give you no discount at all. So your insurance carrier is charging you the same amount for 2/3 of the coverage. Quite a good deal for them. Hey — it’s a dog-eat-dog world I guess.
Insurance companies will deny they are slipping these exclusions into their policies to reap greater profits. Instead they will claim they’re merely keeping their customers’ premium costs down. Yeah right.
Of course, dog exclusions hurt dog-bite victims, too. If you happen to get mauled by a dog whose owner is both poor and has homeowners’ insurance with a dog exclusion, you end up with no compensation. That can take a bite out of your wallet, because you are stuck paying your own medical bills and eating your lost wages, not to mention getting no compensation for those god-awful scars.
My advice? If you are a dog owner, shop around for homeowners’ insurance that covers dog bites. They’re still some of them around, and I’ll bet they don’t cost a penny more.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer Michaels & Smolak, P.C.