In 2017, Florida was #2 in terms of both number AND cost of dog bite claims (CNBC.) Dog bite liability coverage options vary for every insurance company. Some companies will simply not cover certain breeds, while some carriers will ask about the bite history of the animal. Below you can read through the most common questions we hear on this topic.
Dog bite liability
"Does my Homeowners Insurance Policy cover injury caused by my pet?"
The quick and simple answer is no. Unless your policy specifies it, injury costs from a bite or scratch from your pet are not covered. You can protect yourself from expensive legal costs by purchasing liability coverage on a limited basis, depending on the type and breed of your pet. Remember, coverage limits will vary between insurance companies. If you do have coverage, it will be listed in the Endorsement Section of your policy. If you cannot locate it, contact our office and someone will gladly look into it for you.
"Won’t my Umbrella Policy extend coverage for this liability?"
Generally, Umbrella Policies are “Follow Form." This means no extended coverage where underlying coverage is not provided by the homeowners policy. However there are exceptions, so check with your agent.
"My pet would never harm anyone."
In most cases, this is absolutely correct. Most pets are friendly and would never intentionally do harm to anyone. However, there are many cases where an animal causes accidental injury to someone. Often, a cat or dog scratches the face of a child, leading to a liability claim. Unfortunately, we recently had a client whose dog allegedly caused their neighbor to trip and fall while she was getting out of a car.
"Is it expensive?"
No, depending on which insurance company insures your home and how much coverage you select, the premium is normally between $25.00-$75.00 per year. Going without this protection is a mistake many pet owners make. Lastly, check your policy or contact your agent to make sure you (and your best friend) are properly covered.
You can learn more about dog bite liability and homeowners insurance at the Insurance Information Institute website.