What is Canine Liability?

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic

In the past injuries or damage caused by you dog were generally paid by your homeowners or renters’ policy.

Soloviova Liudmyla/Shutterstock

It isn’t just about bites

If your dog bites, scratches, scares, trips, knocks someone over, runs out in front of a car causing property damage or injuries another domestic animal, you will likely be sued.


Gone is the day when people say “my fault” and take care of the injury or damages themselves. There are 4.5 million dog bites in America 800,000 of those require medical attention. The average claim now closes after payment of $49,025. A recent claim settlement for a dog just approaching someone in a menacing manner paid out $171,000. 

My dog would never

Unfortunately, because a dog has never injured a person that does not mean that given the right circumstances they will not. Many Americans now feel that the dog is family and do not understand that all dogs can bite!

What to do, what to do

First, never lie to an insurance company about the fact that you have a dog/dogs or even the breed of those dogs. Simply put, not only is that fraud, but your policy will be voided - meaning no coverage.

Second, assuming your company knows you have the dogs, review the exclusions in the policy and look for “animal liability” exclusions, that means you have no coverage for injuries caused by any animal not just dogs. If the exclusion is not there then you may have coverage.

Third, confirm that you have off premises coverage. If you dog gets out and runs to the street injuring someone that will not be covered without off premises coverage about half of the homeowners and renters polices currently have the coverage.

Fourth, please take risk management precautions. Make sure that the fence is in good shape, make sure everyone in your household knows that dogs slip out of doors, windows and fences. Put locks on your fences, if a child goes into your back yard to get their ball and they are injured chances are that you will have no defense and will be sued.

Finally, if you are not covered you need to seek out Canine Liability insurance. It is a policy that stands alone and provides protection in the event you are sued for your dogs’ actions. Be aware that many of the policies that are available have large deductibles, so be sure that your quote includes no deductible, off premise coverage and coverage if the leash or collar break.

Should there be an incident the insurance company will pay for the medical and veterinary charges, an attorney to defend you and pay the settlement up to the policy limit. Even if another dog starts a fight and your dog is larger, most courts will find your dog is guilty of injuring the other dog, No one ever said that life is fair. 

You can find a most comprehensive policy through Dean Insurance Agency, Inc formed in 1994 the agency is licensed in all states (except AK and KY). The policy can be purchased online in minutes at www.dogbitequote.com the policy is issued within minutes of the purchase. They cover your dog for injuries to people, other domestic animals and property.

If you are trying to rent let your potential landlord know that they can be added as an additional insured protecting them if you dog injuries a person or other domestic animal.

Employers may also allow you to bring your dog to work with you if they are added as an additional insured.

So don’t be the one trying to figure out how to handle an incident with a policy from www.dogbitequote.com - they will step in to help with the medical, defense and settlement costs. 

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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