Homeowners Insurance and Dog Bites
If you own a dog you need to be aware of how your homeowners insurance policy will handle a dog bite. According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than one-third of homeowners insurance claims in 2012 were for dog bites. Luckily, dog bites are typically covered under your standard homeowners insurance policy. Here are some things to consider.
Type of Dog
Certain types of dogs may not be covered on your standard insurance policy. Dogs that are considered high risk are often excluded. Typically this includes Pit Bulls, German Shepards, Rottweilers or any other type considered “violent.”
Cost of Injury
Even if you have a friendly dog that is smaller than the average cat, its bite can result in serious expense. The Insurance Information Institute indicates that dog bite claims typically cost around $30,000. Depending on the location of the bite or if an infection occurs, the medical bills can quickly skyrocket higher. A standard insurance policy typically provides $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage.
When to Consider an Umbrella Policy
If the legal and medical bills exceed the amount that your policy provides, you will have to pay for the extra out of pocket. So if your standard policy covers $100,000 but the medical bills are $500,000, you will owe the difference. Some dog owners consider getting an umbrella liability policy for the extra protection. Depending on your insurance coverage, it may be possible to add up to $5 million in liability protection that will kick in when the liability on your standard policy has been exhausted.
If you are a dog owner you should check to find out if your type of dog is covered under your policy and what the liability coverage level is. With this information you can determine if it would be wise to purchase an additional umbrella liability policy so you are protected financially if your dog bites another person.