Each year, an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States.
If you're a dog owner, it's important to be aware of your liability if your dog bites someone. Renters policies may provide some coverage for dog bite-related injuries depending on the state, insurance company, and the breed of dog.
That said, many states have laws that place strict liability on dog owners for any injuries a pet may cause. This means that you could be held financially responsible even if your dog has never bitten anyone before.
It's important to read your renters policy carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered. Then, be sure to talk to your insurance agent about how your policy covers dog bites and any other liabilities you may have as a dog owner.
Let’s break down what you need to know about your renters insurance and dog bites.
DOG BITES & RENTERS INSURANCE
If you're a dog owner, you must be aware of the potential risks associated with dog bites.
Not only can they cause physical harm, but they can also lead to expensive medical bills. That's why many renters insurance policies may include coverage for dog bites.
If your dog should ever bite someone, this coverage can help cover the associated costs. In some cases, it may even help to cover the cost of legal fees if you're sued due to the incident.
So if you're a renter with a dog, be sure to ask about this important coverage. It could give you the peace of mind you need in the event that your furry friend should ever cause an injury.
2 TYPES OF DOG BITE-RELATED INSURANCE COVERAGE
As a dog owner, these are the two important types of insurance you’ll need to consider.
1. Dog Liability Insurance Coverage
If you're a pet owner, liability coverage is an important consideration.
Liability coverage is an essential form of financial protection for pet owners. You may be liable for the resulting costs if your dog causes accidental bodily injury or damage to someone's property, which can include another animal. This can also include medical expenses and legal fees.
Liability coverage helps to protect you from these potential costs up to your policy's limit. This type of coverage is typically very affordable and can give you peace of mind in knowing that you're protected against liability claims.
2. Property Damage
As any pet owner knows, accidents can happen. Even the best-behaved dog or cat can cause damage to another person's property. What’s worse: you could be held liable for damage done to someone's property if your dog destroys something that belongs to your neighbor.
That's why it's important to have renters insurance or liability insurance that includes coverage for pet damage. Some policies will cover accidental damage caused by pets up to a specific limit. So, if Fido gets too rowdy, knocks over someone else’s expensive laptop, and shatters it, you may have coverage. If you're not sure whether your policy covers pet damage or if you need help filing a claim, contact your insurer for more information.
A Note on Insurance Exclusions & Exceptions
While most dog liability policies will cover damage done by your pet to another person or their property, there are a few exceptions. For instance, if your dog damages your personal property or your rental property, you will most likely not be covered.
Similarly, the policy will typically not extend coverage if your dog injures you or someone in your household. What’s more, certain breeds of dogs are often excluded by policies. As a result, it’s essential to be aware of these exclusions when purchasing a dog liability policy.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM ON YOUR RENTERS INSURANCE AFTER DOG BITE INCIDENT
If you have liability insurance, you can file a claim on a dog bite incident to help cover the cost of repairs or injury to someone else. Here’s how to file your claim:
- The first step is to contact your insurance company and tell them what happened. Be prepared to answer questions about the incident, including when and where it occurred and who was involved. You’ll also need to provide your policy number and other information about your coverage.
- Once the insurance company has all the necessary information, they will open an investigation and determine whether or not you are eligible for coverage. If they determine that you’re covered, they’ll issue a payment to help cover the cost of repairs and/or medical expenses.
- Next, you’ll need to file a record of any previous bite history. Filing a liability insurance claim can help to protect your finances in the event that your dog causes damage to another person's property.
Even the most well-trained dog is unpredictable at times. All dog owners should have adequate coverage in case of an unfortunate incident.
If you don't currently have coverage for your pet, we urge you to consider adding liability insurance. This will help protect you financially should anything happen.
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