Does my Insurance Policy Cover Dog Bites

So Fido went off and chewed on somebody huh? Well, If it is the first time it has happened, you are probably in luck.

Did you know that the breed of dog only has a little to do with whether an insurance company considers your dog dangerous or not? Most insurance companies will not consider your dog to be “dangerous” until it has bitten or attacked someone regardless of whether your dog be a small terrier or pit bull. If your insurance agent is doing their job, they will ask you about any pets in the household as they are writing your home or renters’ policy. As long as they have not bitten anyone already, a future bite or attack should be covered by the liability portion of your home or renters insurance policy.

So what happens if your dog has bitten someone? It gets a little tricky here. Your insurance policy will probably pay out for medical expenses due to the bite, and probably any judgements from resulting lawsuits, but that will most likely be the one and only time. Most companies will place a “dangerous dog exclusion” on your policy after one instance. Meaning that if your dog bites somebody a second time, you are financially responsible. In fact, if your company was notified of the bite, but you paid the bills, they will probably still place the exclusion on your policy. Depending on the severity of the bite, some companies may cancel your policy outright.

Obtaining insurance coverage if your dog has already bitten someone: Two words, good luck. Sure there are companies out there that will offer you coverage, but you will need to expect one of two things to happen. Either you will pay an extremely inflated premium or you will have the dangerous dog endorsement placed on your policy from the beginning. Again, leaving you exposed to financial damages associated with a future bite.

Don’t fool yourself by thinking that you’ll just fib to the insurance company when you apply for a policy. Most companies subscribe to a claim reporting agency, so they share claim information with eachother. You may be able to slip past and get a policy and you may even get the company to pay out when your dog bites someone. If however, the company discovers that your dog bit someone before, and you lied about it. Well, now you’re not only looking at re-imbursing the company for money they paid in your behalf, but most likely you will be charged with insurance fraud. Insurance fraud is a felony in most states, don’t let your dog get you put in the clink.