Dog Bites Neighbor. Now What?
More than one-third of all homeowner claims involved dog bites, totaling aggregate damages of an estimated $602 million in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
For most homeowners (and renters) a standard policy generally covers any legal liability that may result from their dog biting or harming another individual. 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 may limit such coverage to one bite.
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.
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