Dog bite insurance should be included in your homeowner's or renter's policy. It is important to review your policy to be sure that damages or injuries caused by dogs are not excluded. The policy should provide coverage for injuries inflicted by any kind of pets. For example, snakes, birds, ferrets or cats can cause bodily harm, too.
Generally speaking, the amount of coverage should be at least $100,000. The average claims are less than that, but they could easily be more. A medium-sized dog could knock down an elderly person and cause a broken hip. A sympathetic court could award damages exceeding $100,000 for an injury like that.
You should be able to choose a deductible with which you feel comfortable. If the victim's claim is less than the deductible, you would not have to contact your insurer. Your friends, relatives and neighbors are the most likely victims. They may be disinclined to sue if you offer to pay for their medical expenses or other damages.
Your health insurance policy would probably cover any medical attention needed by you, your spouse or your children. But you might still be able to collect an additional amount from your homeowner's policy. Coverage varies in that respect.
Rudy is a 6 year old black tri male Australian Shepherd from Bay Shore, NY. He barks when he wants attention, which I captured in this photo.
You should have dog bite insurance even if the breed you own is not considered dangerous. Gentle dogs can become dangerous if they are injured, ill or nervous.
Research has shown an increased incidence of animal attacks following hurricanes and other natural disasters. The National Disaster Medical System has advised pet owners who live in hurricane-prone areas to be aware of the increased potential for dogs and cats to bite as part of their personal disaster preparedness plans.
If you happen to be a landlord and your tenants have pets, you should require they carry dog bite insurance of some kind. Landlords can be held liable for injuries occurring on their property in some situations.
If no renter's policy is available, there are some companies that offer special dog-liability policies for a reasonable price. The necessity for the special policies is a result of insurers attempting to sell policies that excluded coverage for dog bites.
Some insurers exclude certain breeds such as the Rottweiler or Pit Bull. Others require homeowners to pay extra for covering damage or injury done by German Shepherds or Doberman Pinschers. Yet they have the ability to require the owner to purchase supplemental policies or refuse to cover the home.
Dog bite insurance coverage may be limited to medical payments and exclude property damage. This information would be found in the policy declarations. Property damage is important because a victim could sue for the value of torn clothing or broken eyeglasses, for example.
Your policy may also cover your attorney fees and court costs in the event you are sued by the victim and believe you are not liable. You might not be liable if the victim was trespassing or harassing your pet.
You should always take precautions to ensure that bites do not happen. It is a part of responsible pet ownership. You do your best, but you plan for the worst-case-scenario by making sure that your dog bite insurance coverage is adequate.