If you’re like many other American homeowners, you may have a dog living with your family. Your furry friend probably fits right in, snuggling up to the family for movie night and playing in the yard on nice days. But even though your dog may be a loving member of the family, there’s still a chance that it could bite a visitor if provoked or scared. And if a biting incident does occur, will your home insurance policy cover the expenses?
The answer may depend on the circumstances of the bite and the state in which you live. Most standard homeowners and renters insurance policies include dog bite liability coverage, with varying coverage limits depending on your policy. Even if your dog is sweet and docile, it’s in your best interests to ensure your policy contains this coverage since animals can behave unpredictably at times.
In fact, dog bites are the primary reason for over a third of all home liability claims, with an average payout of nearly $30,000 per bite. These funds help cover the victim’s medical bills, legal fees, lost wages and property damage.
But it’s only necessary to use your coverage when you’re held legally liable for a bite. In some states, you’re always responsible for a bite, while other states have a “one free bite” mentality, which gives you the chance to take corrective actions to improve your pooch’s behavior after the first incident. However, you can minimize the risk simply by restraining your dog to an isolated area of the house when guests are over. Your dog can’t injure a guest—intentionally or accidentally—if they aren’t in close proximity.
While having dog bite liability coverage at your disposal can be beneficial, you should also understand that filing a dog bite claim may result in increased premiums if your insurance provider begins to view you as a higher risk. Some insurers may even exclude your dog from coverage following an incident. Be sure to talk to your agent to learn how these situations are handled with your insurance provider.
Is your pet protected? Call Avanti Associates at (914) 273-8511 for more information on Armonk home insurance and pet insurance.