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Dog Bites & Homeowners Insurance

Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bite claims. This is because policies provide coverage for any liability that is the result of the homeowner’s negligence. It is common for certain homeowners’ insurance companies to discriminate based on breed. As a dog bite lawyer, Ian Silverthorne can tell you that dog bites are the most common claim under the homeowners insurance policy. Today, we will discuss the importance of homeowner’s insurance as well as liability laws in California. If you are suffering from injuries due to a dog attack, contact a dog bite attorney in our office today. Consultations are free!

Your Insurance Policy

As stated above, most insurance policies provide liability coverage for dog bites and other serious injuries caused by an animal. This is unless the dog is on the restricted breeds list. Breeds that are often excluded from homeowners’ insurance policies include pit bulls, Rottweilers, and dobermans. This is due to their reputation for being dangerous and/or vicious.

Typically, the insurance policy sets limits of liability at $100,000-$300,000. You will be able to find your exact amount on your policy declaration. You policy states that, if a visitor on your property is bitten or injured by your dog, you are liable for medical expenses, any property damages they claim, and other losses due to the incident.

California is a strict liability state. That means that you will be held liable if you animal causes harm to another. Liability begins the moment you take possession of the animal.

Dog Bite Lawyer | Useful Information

Most insurance companies will only cover the first claim filed after an incident with a specific dog. This means that if there are any other incidences where the dog bites or attacks, they can (and likely, will) decline to cover any subsequent claims connected to the dog thereafter. This is because the dog has already shown a propensity for dangerous behavior and therefore poses an increased risk or biting again. The next time the dog bites someone, as the owner, you will be responsible for paying any damages out of pocket.

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Restricted Dog Breeds

There are certain breed that are more notorious for (or being reported) dog bites. This makes insurance companies weary and less willing to cover any liability issues they may cause. It is possible if you have a breed on the following list that your insurance company may reject covering you and/or your animal.

  • Pit Bulls
  • German Shepherds
  • Akitas
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Chow Chows
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Great Danes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Rottweilers
  • Presa Canarios
  • Wolf-hybrids

If You Can’t Insure Your Dog

If the company you initially want to cover you refuses to do so, shop around. As a dog bite lawyer, we know that it can be daunting to do so. However, you want to make sure that they will cover your dog. Large companies, such as State Farm or Allstate, have a tendency to be more lenient and will accept more “aggressive” breeds. Make sure to consult your agent and your policy. As changes are always happening.

Benefits of Umbrella Policies

These are more or less fro restricted dog breeds. An umbrella policy is a liability type of insurance which you may use at any time there is a claim against you. This is not just for dog bites but a car accident you were found to be at-fault for. Most policies will start at $1,000,000 and can go up to $10,000,000. Should your dog bite someone, you can file a claim through your umbrella insurance company instead of homeowners insurance.

Medical Payments

There is a part of your insurance policy called “medical payments.” You can use this to your own discretion to pay for other people’s medical expenses. For instance, if your friend is bitten by your dog and your friend does not want to sue you for damages. You can file a claim and use your medical expenses coverage for their medical expenses. Limits for medical payments range from $1,000-$10,000 depending on coverage.

Dog Bite Attorney | What if I am Injured?

I know today’s post has mainly been about the owner of the dog. However, it is still important to know the facts about what goes into dog bites. As a dog bite lawyer, we will generally go after the homeowners insurance policy – if they have one. Not many people are aware of that. We do not automatically file a lawsuit. What we do is, once you complete treatment, we  go to the insurance company of the liable party and make a demand. This means that we will ask for monetary compensation for your injuries, any property damages, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc. Anything that is considered to be a loss to you due to your injuries.

Suffering from injuries due to a dog bite can be stressful. However, finding a dog bite lawyer to represent you shouldn’t be. If you are suffering please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. Consultations with a dog bite attorney in our office are free!

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