Dog Bites and Your Homeowners Insurance

Here’s what you need to know about pet-related liability issues and your homeowners coverage.

As a dog owner, you might be convinced that your pet would never hurt anyone.  However, the numbers might suggest otherwise.  With over 4.5 million instances of dog bites and attacks recorded every year, there is a chance that your dog could react aggressively.  So, what should you do if your dog causes injuries to another party?  Here’s what you need to know about pet-related liability issues and your homeowners insurance.

Getting Your Dog Covered

Generally, your pets are covered under your homeowners insurance policy.  This means that you should have coverage for the pet-related liability issues that you might run into.  However, many home insurance providers will refuse to extend coverage to certain, “dangerous” breeds of dogs.  Oftentimes, they will deny coverage even if your dog has never shown signs of aggression or been involved in a liability issue before.  If this happens to you, then you do have other coverage options.  For instance, you could try to secure coverage by adding a pet insurance endorsement to your existing homeowners policy.  You also have the option to secure your pet their very own policy.

If a Bite Occurs

If a bite occurs but it seems minor, then you might be tempted to handle the situation without informing your insurer.  While this might seem like a good idea to avoid the claims process and any subsequent premium increases, this is actually a very risky move.

Failing to disclose a pet-related liability issue to your insurer could violate the terms of your policy.  Should your insurer find out about the event, then they have rights to deny you coverage and even cancel your policy.  Additionally, paying out-of-pocket for third-party injuries can leave you vulnerable to other claims down the road.  For instance, if the injuries are more extensive than you realized or if the injured-party decides to sue after initial treatment, then it would be too late to access your insurance coverage.  This would leave you to cover additionally medical costs or your own legal fees all on your own.  So, if your pet is involved in a liability issue, it is always better to go through the official claims process to ensure that you have all the coverage and support that you need.

This is what you need to know about pet-related liability issues and your homeowners insurance coverage.  Do you have further questions regarding your home coverage?  Then don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Mike Leonard Insurance Agency.  Our dedicated team is eager to find you the right coverage from one of our many carriers including: Kemper, MetLife, Travelers, The Hartford, Safeco Insurance, Progressive, and American Strategic Insurance.