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Homeowners Insurance And Dog Bites

Homeowners Insurance And Dog Bites

Homeowners Insurance does cover dog bites, but there are limitations depending on your dog, your insurance company, and your policy. Many insurance companies refuse to offer home insurance for dogs such as Pit Bull, Doberman, and Rottweiler because, fairly or unfairly, these breeds have become associated with violent attacks. If you have an aggressive dog, or a breed with aggressive tendencies, be familiar with what your home insurance policy says about dog bites, and adjust your coverage accordingly.

Homeowners Insurance and Dog Bites

If your dog has bitten someone, contact your homeowners insurance provider. The personal liability section of your home insurance policy provides coverage for a dog bite. Whether it is a minor bite or a serious injury, let your insurance company adjusters handle the investigation of the circumstances surrounding how the dog bite occurred. It is possible that if you file a claim, the insurance company may non-renew the policy and/or ask you to get rid of the dog. Once there is such a claim on your record, future insurance companies may refuse to write your insurance if you still have the dog. They could also ask you to sign a rider excluding any dog bites under their policy.

BE CAREFUL! If you are a homeowner, do not hastily sign these dog bite exclusion forms. If you have a dog, you never know when or if it will bite. Signing this form will put your personal finances on the hook for any dog bite lawsuit. Never sign this form without a thorough search for a home insurance that will accept your dog, even if you have to pay a higher premium.

During the home insurance quoting process, most insurance companies ask if there is a dog in the household and will ask if the dog has ever bitten anyone. Even if your breed of dog is not on the watch list, you still need to take precautions. Small breeds of dogs like Pekinese or Chihuahua, can be temperamental, attention grabbers and may not like little children . Make sure you know your animal and minimize any risk that may cause your dog to nip or bite!

Dog Bit Lawsuits

When the incident is really bad and turns into a lawsuit, your homeowner's insurance company should be the first call you make. Dog bite lawsuits are of great concern to insurance companies because they expose the policyholder and the company to a potentially large liability settlement. On top of the medical bills, there's the possibility of greater payout for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and, if the dog is known to be aggressive, there could be punitive damages. There are things you can do to minimize the personal liability associated with a lawsuit due to a dog bite. Follow some of these precautions if you are a dog owner:

- Always obey the leash law in your county or city. Even if you are on your own property.

- Fence your yard to define your animal's boundaries. This will also negate stragglers such as young children or unsuspecting neighbors from wandering into your yard and being bit. Most times, an animal is protecting the home so any strangers near the home are potential targets.

- Post signs that say "Beware of Dog". This is especially true if you have a large or perceived aggressive breed of dog. If you are involved in a dog bite lawsuit, giving fair warning of your animal's presence can help reduce your liability or negligence. This can help reduce the overall payout. Even if you have a small breed, posting signs can warn an unsuspected delivery man that he should be careful.

Dog Bite Victims and Homeowner's Insurance

If you have been bitten by a dog, contact the homeowner! Find out if they have home insurance that will cover your injury. Ask if the dog has had up to date rabies shots and ask for proof. It is the homeowner's responsibility to address any issues with regards to their animal causing any injury. If the homeowner is uncooperative, call the home insurance carrier and advise that you would like to file a claim. If you find that the homeowner, as well as the home insurance company, is being uncooperative about the dog bite you sustained, you may need to contact a lawyer. A personal injury attorney will be able to contact and put the home insurance carrier on notice and file a dog bite lawsuit if necessary.

Image by: Alan Levine