A Florida-based operation has started offering a low-cost dog bite liability insurance policy that protects dog owners in the event their dog bites an individual and causes harm. The Covered Canine policy is the brainchild of Debbie Turner, president of the Dean Insurance Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Turner offers the policy through the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. (F.I.D.O.), an offshoot of her commercial lines agency.
The coverage can cost as little as $75 annually per dog, for policy limits of $50,000, $75,000 or a maximum of $100,000. The policy covers bites to humans (rather than one dog biting another), and an option is available that extends coverage for attacks that occur when a leashed dog has been taken off-premises. There is also a $50 membership fee for F.I.D.O., which is commited to supporting animal-related causes.
Applying for coverage is simple through F.I.D.O.'s online application, where dog owners can self-rate their policy according to the dog's breed, size and weight. Applicants answer questions that help assess risk factors such as whether any children reside in the home with the dog and whether the home has a fenced yard, and must upload a photo of their pet. The coverage does not seek to exclude any particular breed of dog, although some exclusions apply (such as police dogs or dogs that have not been well socialized).
Turner developed the covered canine policy in response to a growing need, as evidenced by statistics indicating that nearly five million people suffer dog bites annually in the U.S. alone at a cost of more than $400 million in medical and liability claims, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. At the same time, homeowners and renters policies often exclude dog bite liability protection entirely or exclude certain breeds from coverage.
Available exclusively to F.I.D.O. members, covered canine insurance is underwritten by Great American Insurance Company and is currently available only in Florida. According to Turner, filing requirements are in progress that will enable F.I.D.O. to make the policy available nationwide. Visit http://www.dogbitequote.com/.