If you own a dog, it is important to make sure your homeowners and renters insurance policies cover dog bite injuries. In 2016, dog attack injuries accounted for over one-third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claim dollars, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I) and State Farm®. The insurance industry pays in excess of one billion dollars in claims each year. However, the sad truth is that insurance companies are still denying valid claims and egregiously undercompensating victims.
Most often, homeowners insurance covers dog bite claims, but there may be some exceptions depending on your specific policy and the breed of your dog. Some breeds including Pitbulls and Rottweilers are classified as dangerous and may be excluded from the policy. This is a way that insurers can protect themselves from such losses.
Typically, policies cover dog bite liability legal expenses ranging from $100,000 – $300,000. You will find the exact coverage your policy offers on your policy declaration page. In the state of Ohio, if you own a dog that falls under the category “vicious”, you are required to have a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance. This coverage is used for any medical expenses, property damage, and other losses imposed by the dog bite injury. All expenses past the coverage amount will be the responsibility of the homeowner to pay. If your homeowners or renters insurance policy does not cover dog bite injuries, look into getting a Canine Liability Policy or an Umbrella Policy.
Most insurance companies will only cover the first dog bite injury claim filed. Once the dog has bitten or injured someone, insurers often decline to cover any subsequent claims involving that animal because it poses an increased risk.
If they do continue to provide coverage, the premium on the insurance will be much higher. At times, insurance companies may refuse to cover all of the expenses related to your animal attack injuries. Often, you are left with high medical bills including the costs of future treatment for nerve damage, rehabilitation, plastic surgery, pain & suffering, and counseling. You should be compensated for all of your damages related to the attack, so you are not financially burdened for years to come because of someone else’s violent animal. Do not settle a claim with an insurance company for less than you are entitled to, merely because a claims adjuster ensures that you are being fairly compensated. Contact an experienced injury attorney to explore all of your rights and options. Your decision to take action could prevent someone else from being bitten in the future.