Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites

Short Answer: Yes! Your policy covers claims related to dogs.

Here’s something incredible to consider - did you know the estimated number of household dogs in 2019 was close to 50 million? In fact, according to the 2017-2018 U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, around 40% of all American homes have 1.6 dogs!

Note: According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, ‘about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs’ and a good percentage are domestic dogs.

This being the case, it’s no wonder homeowners insurance and dogs aren’t mutually exclusive. If you’re a new homeowner who also has furry fetch-playing members of the family, you’ll want to know how much exactly your policy covers that can go towards any legal fees and medical expenses involved with your dog biting someone (of their dog). In this article we want to get you well-informed on the question of does homeowners insurance cover dog bites, and does homeowners insurance cover dog bites OFF property. Let’s dive in.

Considerations: Basics of Homeowners Insurance and Dogs

First, let’s talk about the considerations, because your policy likely doesn’t reference ‘Dog Bites’ specifically (unless you opt to get more dog-specific coverage beyond what your policy offers), but rolls the issue into general liability coverage. This is the same coverage that kicks into action to protect you when anyone is harmed on your property, say from slipping on a sidewalk.

_ Common: Unfortunately, yes, this type of thing is really common. 4.5 million bites is a lot! What this translates into is almost $800 million paid out in liability insurance on homeowner policies in 2019.

_ Location: The altercation doesn’t necessarily need to happen directly on your property. Regardless of where it happens, if you’re at fault you should be covered just about anywhere - the dog park, on a walk away from home, on the way to the car, etc.

_ Types & Breed: If you have a larger dog over 50 lbs, or a dog that your home insurance provider considers higher risk - certain breeds are responsible for far more bites than others - you may need to do certain things like put up signs, pay extra fees, or even get your own dog-specific liability coverage.
does homeowners insurance cover dog bites

When Isn’t Your Dog Covered?

As mentioned, your dog is sort of tossed in with your property itself and is covered under personal liability. How about chewing up or destroying the carpet? What about the lovely landscaping that’s been completely demolished? Nope. The damage your dog causes to the property isn’t included. It’s about anything your dog does to other people. Why? Because these types of things can happen. Accidents happen. Dogs somehow manage to get away, even when owners do their absolute best. But there’s always something you can do about your own dog, damaging your own property. They aren’t an act of God or recognized ‘peril’. However, what if they run over to the neighbor’s and do damage to property, but not people? In these cases it goes both ways. Yes, a court is likely to find that you should be compensated for damage done to your home by your neighbor’s dog. Finally, if you sick your dog on someone purposely or are somehow the reason your dog harmed someone. No. You likely won’t be covered and will be found liable for all costs!

homeowners insurance and dogs

When Your Dog IS Covered

Dog bites and injuries can be absolutely brutal and very serious, especially when we’re talking about bigger dogs, more violent dog breeds, and younger kids/children. From a few stitches to legitimate operations, you’ll rely on minor medical payment coverage on up to the typical $100,000 to $500,000 range of liability coverage for major incidents! Be without-a-doubt clear with your provider - do they cover your specific dog breed? If it’s a small dog, then it’s not usually a hangup. Again, these types of issues with coverage only come up with certain breeds (pit bulls and pit bull mixes, rottweiler, any predominantly wolf breeds, etc.). You’ll be asked about your pets during the process of applying, so be honest and don’t be shy about talking to your providers. Don’t hide your dog, thinking, ‘Oh, Fido would never!’ because if it happens and you have no coverage it can be a gigantic financial mess. Hopefully this answers your question - Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites? If not don’t be afraid to reach out to our team or even Get a Free Quote. Thanks for your time!