Almost everyone that has a pet, believes their homeowner’s policy covers that pet for an attack or a bite on a guest, friend or total stranger. Most homeowner’s policies have an exclusion for dog bites. Unfortunately, in this rather litigious world, if a dog bites someone on your property, you are responsible for it. That would be true if it is your dog or if you are dog sitting for somebody and an attack may have occurred. It is necessary to buy that as a separate coverage or have it extended on your insurance policy as a Rider.
If you purchase a new policy for your home, or renewing a policy, it is best to ask your agent the cost of getting dog bite coverage. Under most circumstances, the dogs are wonderful companions and do not hurt anyone. By way of example, recently we have seen a case where a neighbor’s child who was very familiar with the dog at the owner’s house, entered it in the early morning when his playmate was normally up and about. However, in this instance he was not, and the dog attacked the neighbor’s child. The dog owner told the child’s family, don’t worry, we have coverage. They did not. Not only did this break up a friendship, it did result in litigation.
What does that mean for the homeowner? It means that he or she is responsible for the damages caused to the plaintiff. If you have a dog, we suggest you check your insurance policy now and see if a Rider can be added to it to prevent your exposure to any potential litigation or claim for a dog bite.