(WSYR-TV) -- A 65-year-old Syracuse man is still recovering in the hospital after police say he was attacked by an acquaintance’s Pit Bull.
Dog bites are becoming a pricey problem across the country. It’s even forcing some insurance companies to rethink their policies.
Insurance companies are paying 54 percent more per dog bite case than they did in 2003, putting the average payout at more than $29,000. It’s certainly got the attention of insurance companies, many of which are reevaluating the pets they’re willing to cover – if any.
The man that was attacked Monday night was bitten on the arm and on both legs.
“That dog’s going to be held by the city. It’ll probably be put down because obviously dogs that attack that severe, we’re not going to put our name on it to put out to be adopted. It’s just not safe,” said Shane Chimbers, with the Syracuse SPCA.
4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Homeowners insurance typically covers you for any legal liability, but the price per bite has skyrocketed in recent years.
Tim Dodge, with Independent Insurance Agents of NYS says, “The cost of medical treatment in general has gone up quite a bit in that time period. Certainly dog bites, because of their traumatic nature are going to be fairly expensive events, especially if there is any sort of facial scarring or anything like that.”
Larger settlements and judgements due to dog bites are also cutting into insurance companies' profits, which is why some are taking a new approach to their policies. Some won’t cover dogs at all; others have started to put a limit on the breeds they’ll accept.
"Some companies will say we don't want Rottweilers, we don't want pit bulls, we don't want Doberman pincers, the breeds that you might traditionally think as being, fairly or unfairly, aggressive,” Dodge said.
Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2011. Now, if no one will cover your dog, Dodge says you may have to turn to an insurance company that isn’t licensed by New York State, which will likely cost you more, but it’s certainly better than the alternative.