Will Your Renters Insurance Policy Cover Dog Bites?
Renters insurance typically covers dog bites and dog attacks under personal liability coverage. However, some insurance companies may make some exclusions such as leaving out large dogs and certain dog breeds. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 67% of American households own a pet and dogs account for about 63% of these pets. The United States also has a high incidence of dog attacks and dog bites which, sometimes, leave victims seriously or even fatally injured.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. The average cost per dog bite claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute, is $44,760. CDC statistics also show that more than 800,000 people each year receive medical attention for dog bites and at least half of those who are bitten are young children. One in five people bitten by dogs require medical attention, and children are much more likely to suffer severe injuries.
Being a Responsible Dog Owner
While being a responsible dog owner includes making sure your pet is restrained and not running loose in the neighborhood, it also means making sure you have sufficient personal liability insurance coverage. If you own a home, dog bites or dog attacks will typically be covered as part of your homeowner’s insurance policy. But, what about renters insurance?
You should be covered under your renter’s insurance policy’s personal liability coverage. However, it is important to note that some renter’s insurance policies may not offer coverage based on your dog’s breed and size. You should inform your insurance agent if you have a large dog or a specific breed to make sure you are covered in case of a dog bite. Some insurance companies do not ask about dog breeds.
However, others may exclude breeds such as pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds and bull mastiffs from coverage. Dogs that are known to be aggressive include trained attack dogs, unneutered male dogs and dogs with a history of attacking. These dogs are usually excluded from these policies. If you have an excluded dog breed, you may still be able to get coverage from an umbrella liability policy, which is additional liability coverage that is available as an add-on rider to your renter’s insurance.
Liability in Dog Bite Incidents
Remember, if your dog bites someone, California’s strict liability statute dictates that you can be held financially liable for the injuries, damages and losses your pet causes. Injured victims can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, please contact an experienced California dog bite attorney who can help you explore different avenues of compensation and help you secure maximum compensation for your damages.