NASHVILLE – An increase in dog attacks are proving that man’s best friend can be costly for Tennessee homeowners who don’t follow leash laws. As part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week (Sunday, April 8, through Saturday, April 14), the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) reminds Tennessee homeowners to take leash laws and education seriously in order to help reduce liabilities and dangerous encounters with pets.
Last year, 314 dog bite claims were filed in Tennessee with a value at $11 million with the average cost per claim at $35,029, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). Tennessee ranks No. 22 in the nation for dog-bite claims. In 2016, $9.4 million was paid out on around 300 claims on dog bites.
Across the U.S., insurers paid out over $686 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2017. An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,522 in 2017 compared to 18,123 in 2016—a 2.2 percent increase. The average cost per claim for the year increased by 11.5 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $37,051in 2017, compared with $33,230 in 2016.
“Dog bite risk is one that, unlike weather risks such as tornados or hail, the homeowner maintains an element of control over,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “We strongly encourage dog-loving Tennesseans to take good care of their pets and observe leash laws to protect themselves, their neighbors, their postal workers, and, of course, their canine companions.”
McPeak continued: “Dog-owning insurance consumers should review their policies with insurance agents or companies to ensure appropriate coverage in the event of a dog bite and may always contact the Department with any questions. Some insurance carriers may not offer coverage or may charge more for dog breeds considered more dangerous than others and pet owners need to be aware of such coverage limitations.“