Dog Bites Neighbor. Now What?

More than one-third of all homeowners insurance claims involve dog bites, totaling aggregate damages of an estimated $602 million in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute.¹

For most homeowners (and renters), a standard policy generally covers any legal liability that may result from their dog biting or harming another individual.² Typically, this coverage is designed to extend to places outside the home (e.g., a walk in the park), but may not include what happens inside a car.

However, this coverage is not unlimited. There is a cap to liability coverage (check your policy for the limits of your coverage), and your policy may limit such coverage to one bite.

Canine Considerations

Many insurers may either cancel the policy or add a canine exclusion after paying such a claim, which means that you will be responsible for all damages in the event of a second bite.

Some policies exclude certain dog breeds from the outset, so be sure to review your coverage to ensure that your dog is not among the excluded breeds.

Also be aware of a business exclusion that may not pay on claims arising from a dog bite that occurs while you are conducting business in your place of residence.

Finally, it is important to let your insurer know if your dog bites someone or is declared dangerous under a local law. Failure to inform them may affect liability coverage for subsequent injuries caused by your dog.

  1. Insurance Information Institute, 2017
  2. The information in this material is not intended as legal advice. Please consult legal or insurance professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2017 FMG Suite.

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