What Is Dog Bite Liability Insurance?

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
If your dog bites someone, it can bite into your finances – is Dog Bite Liability Insurance necessary for you?

Your dog may be calm and well-behaved, but we can’t always predict when a certain situation will cause him to react by attacking against what he perceives is an attack on himself or his family. It can happen at your home, on a walk or in the dog park. So what happens after your dog bites another dog or person? Will you have to cover the medical costs? Can you be sued? One way to protect yourself against these costs is to arm yourself with Dog Bite Liability Insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that over the last year, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all pay outs in homeowners insurance liability claims. In 2012, the total number of dog bites totaled 16,459, which is down from 2011’s total of 16,695. But the one number that is going up is the value of claims – in 2012, these injuries totaled over for $489.7 million in medical and liability claims.

It may turn out that you don’t need Dog Bite Liability Insurance, as you may be covered under your homeowner or renter insurance policy. This would be considered a premium coverage, so unless it is specifically written into your existing insurance, you would not be covered if your dog bit a person or another animal.

Some apartments and condominiums now require dog owners to carry Dog Bite Liability Insurance before they can move in. As well, if your dog has a history of biting, you may be required by law to carry this type of insurance.

And even if you want to add Dog Bite Liability Insurance to your homeowner’s policy, you may be denied the extra coverage. This is because some dogs are considered to be dangerous or vicious. Just of few of those breeds can include Pitbulls, Doberman Pinchers, Rottweilers, Chow-Chows, Boxers and Bulldogs. This is known as “Breed Profiling” and while the practice is outlawed in a few states, most allow insurance companies to deny or cancel homeowner coverage that includes Dog Bite Liability Insurance if you own one of these breeds. If you can’t get Dog Bite Liability Insurance added to your current policy, you may have to turn to an insurance company that specializes in this type of coverage.

One agency that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance is the Federation of Insured Dog Owners (FIDO). Available in select states, the company’s Covered Canine Policy protects you if your dog bites an individual. It covers all dog breeds and starts at $75 per dog, per year and the policy limits range from $50,000 to $100,000.

But FIDO takes it one step further – there is a $50 membership fee that goes to support educational programs, support rescue groups, domestic abuse shelters, continued behavioral studies and research into medical assistance and therapy programs using dogs. They are exploring the links between animal abuse and domestic violence and child abuse and going to the source to stop the cycle.

Another agency that carries Dog Bite Liability Insurance is Pet Protection Pak. This company covers a wide range of dog breeds with various packages to suit your individual needs.

Do you have Dog Bite Liability Insurance? Have you ever had an issue regarding a claim or had problems obtaining this type of insurance? Share your experiences and tips below in the comment section.

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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