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Is the Bark Worse Than the Bite? What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Coverage

Is the Bark Worse Than the Bite? What You Need to Know About Dog Bite Coverage

Sep 25 2019

With almost 90 million dogs owned as pets in the United States alone, it’s no surprise that there are about 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, in 2018, Homeowners insurers paid out $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries. That’s why it’s so important to understand dog bite liability and your coverage.

Does Renters & Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Usually. Most Renters and Homeowners insurance policies cover dog bite liability up to the liability limits, which tend to range anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000. Many insurance providers require that the dog in question must be listed on the coverage before a claim can be made, so it’s important that you promptly provide information about any and all pets to your insurance provider.

That said, some insurance companies choose not to insure homeowners who have certain breeds of dogs. The exclusionary list includes breeds that are sometimes classified as dangerous, such as pit bulls and rottweilers.

Once there is record of your dog biting someone, some insurance providers may choose to charge a higher premium, non-renew the Homeowner’s or Renter’s insurance policy, require that the dog take behavior-modifying classes, or exclude the dog from coverage altogether.

Since every policy is different, you’ll want to check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered.

Does Umbrella Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Yes. Under most circumstances, Umbrella insurance does cover dog bites and other dog-related injuries. Keep in mind, umbrella policies could potentially limit coverage for dogs. If the dog is not covered on the home or rental policy, it typically will not be covered under an umbrella policy or an exclusion will be required. Be sure to disclose any pets to your insurance agent when purchasing your policy. If you have a dog, be specific and ask your agent if your breed of dog is covered by the policy.

How to Prevent Dog Bites in Your Home?

While there are varying degrees of injury, nearly 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. These tips can help you prevent dog bites in your home.

Train Your Dog

The more well-trained a dog is, the less likely they are to bite. Make sure your dog understands bite inhibition and discourage your dog from biting humans, even in play scenarios. Teach your dog commands like sit, stay, and heel, so that you can control situations before they get out of hand.

Keep Your Dog Away from Triggering Situations

When you have guests, be sure to model how your dog likes to play and interact. Be clear about any behavior your dog finds threatening and discourage guests from giving your dog food from their hands. If you have guests coming over who have small kids or don’t have dog experience, it may be smart to keep your dog in a closed separate room during their visit.

Have additional questions about dog bite liability? Grange Insurance Association has you covered. Contact an independent insurance agent to learn more about your coverage options. In the meantime, check out our Insurance Blog, where we cover everything from the top causes of Home insurance claims to how to insure an engagement ring.

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