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Changes To Farmers Insurance Means Many Policies No Longer Extend To Dog Bite Victims

Posted by attorney Yosef Yahoudai

Dog owners of several breeds very common in California (Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and Wolf hybrids) have been up in arms over recent changes to Farmers’ terms of liability coverage as far as they relate to the dogs they own. Farmers Insurance recently decided to exclude liability coverage of the aforementioned breeds when they found that figures showed that these few breeds make up for more than a quarter of all dog bit claims in California. These breeds have proven to cause more damage in personal injury incidents than most other dog breeds, and such incidents lead to the majority of lawsuits, law settlements, and overall dog attack claims in Los Angeles and other cities. Many Farmers subscribers feel that the policy change was handled in poor taste and that owners should not be penalized for owning a specific breed without warning or without individual assessment. For some this felt like a personal attack and many owners of the offending breeds quickly switched to alternative providers.

The Data

Each year more than 4.5 million U.S. residents are attacked or bitten by dogs , but only an approximate 20% of those require medical attention. The most common attacks involve children, especially young children between the ages of 5 and 9. And although Farmers cited data that may show specific breeds in large cities like Los Angeles are more likely to cause personal injury, national overall injuries from dogs, such as dog bites among children, are actually on the decline. Adult men are more likely to be bitten than their female peers, and unremarkably, having a dog in the home is linked to a larger likelihood of sustaining a canine-related personal injury. One statistic that we found shocking; each year approximately thirty thousand patients seek reconstructive surgery to address cosmetic changes sustained from dog-attacks and bites.

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