Almost everyone has a farm dog. Almost everyone tells anybody who comes to the farm that the dog doesn't bite, and most of the time it doesn't. But insurance records show that too many times a dog does bite. When that happens, there is not only pain and suffering, there is usually an insurance claim involved.
Dean Payne with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance says that his company has paid several claims related to dog bites over the years. Unfortunately, they usually involve injury to a young person.
"These claims tend to be severe and very costly," Payne says.
The liability issue has caused Indiana Farm Bureau to place restrictions on certain breed types that make them ineligible for coverage. These include Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chows, Akitas, Dobermans and Wolf-mixes. If you have one of these breeds and have not reported it to your insurance agent, you might want to tell them and see if it affects your coverage.
There is current action by at least one insurance company in western states to have policy holders sign a waiver of liability if they have one of these breeds, Payne notes. The problem is definitely nationwide, not restricted to Indiana.
In fact he notes that $480 million in claims were paid out by the industry nationwide last year. There has been a 50% rise in claims for dog bites over the past eight years.
The bottom line is that the risk is sufficient that Indiana Farm Bureau and other companies continue to evaluate it, Payne notes.
Note: Dean Payne was incorrectly identified in the story 'Nonfatal farm accidents cost big bucks' on page 78 of the November issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. Payne provided information in that story about the huge pay-out by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance for just three farm accidents earlier this year. We apologize for incorrectly identifying Payne in that story.