As the dog days of summer approach, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the United States Postal Service remind Tennessee homeowners that leash laws can be a homeowner’s best friend when it comes to preventing costly dog bite insurance claims.
For 2016, the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm estimate dog bites in Tennessee topped more than 300 claims with $9.4 million paid out.
Nationwide, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid in 2016, costing in excess of $600 million. The number of dog bite insurance claims increased from 15,352 in 2015 to over 18,000 in 2016.
“While dogs make great companions, sometimes they do bite, which could mean dog-bite claims for pet owners,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance assistant commissioner Michael Humphreys. “One way to help lower the risk of dog-bite injuries is to always obey local leash laws and be a responsible pet owner. Such actions protect our friends, neighbors and postal letter carriers who deliver our mail, rain or shine.”
Humphreys added, “We strongly encourage Tennesseans to review their policies with insurance agents or companies to ensure appropriate coverage in the event of a dog bite. 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.”
June is traditionally when postal letter carriers are most often attacked by dogs. Dog attacks are up every month throughout the year, but June has 13 percent of all attacks. The Postal Service’s Tennessee District shares the following tips for owners to help prevent an incident that could have costly ramifications.
• Make sure your dog is secured during business hours when letter carriers are delivering mail.
• Secure your dog in a separate room before opening the front door to greet a carrier.
• Remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from the letter carrier in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier’s gesture as threatening.