Can insurance help cover a dog bite?

Animal-related injuries can be covered by insurance, but the dog, policy and owner may affect the coverage.

Most homeowners in Ohio and Kentucky do not expect their dogs to bite visitors. However, the Insurance Information Institute states that dogs bite roughly 4.5 million people in a single year. The owner of the dog may be liable for the medical costs associated with the animal attack. The average bite incident results in a claim of $37,051, so many dog owners may struggle to cover the expenses on their own. Thankfully, some insurance policies may be able to help pay the damages, so the injured party does not have to worry about where the payments for the medical bills are coming from.

Depends on the dog

Not every dog will be covered by a liability policy. Those deemed more aggressive may require a higher premium, need a specialized insurance or be excluded from coverage altogether. Other characteristics that can affect whether an insurance policy can help cover an animal attack include the following:

  • A history of biting
  • A completed obedience training
  • A certain breed

For example, a Doberman that has bitten a person in the past may need to complete an obedience class before the insurance provider will offer coverage. The exact policy a dog owner is able to get will depend greatly on the insurance provider the person uses as well as his or her individual pet.

Depends on the policy

The type of insurance can dictate what injuries are covered. Many standard homeowner's or renter's insurance policies have a liability portion that covers medical expenses caused by a dog bite or similar animal attack. However, some providers may require pet owners to get additional coverage. Pet owners may need to look into an umbrella policy or a specialized dog liability policy.

Depends on the owner

Dog liability coverage does not necessarily come standard on a homeowner's or renter's policy. Most providers will ask the insured about his or pets. If the person does not answer truthfully, any injuries caused by a dog may not fall under the coverage. Owners may have to disclose the dog breed, age and bite history to get full protection for their family pet. If a person adds a dog to his or her family after setting up an insurance policy, he or she should reassess the coverage to make sure the liability portion fully covers the newest pet.

When an Ohio or Kentucky resident gets hurt by a dog, the last thing the person wants to worry about is the medical expenses incurred by the injury. No matter the circumstances of an animal-related injury, it may be beneficial to work with an attorney who is familiar with this type of personal injury case.

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