For many people, a house is not a home without a dog—in fact, 85 million dogs live in U.S. households. While the vast majority of dogs never hurt anyone, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, most of them children. And in 2022, Florida had the second highest number of dog bite insurance claims as well as the second highest average cost per claim ($78,203), according to the Insurance Information Institute (iii.org).
Even if your dog is calm and well-mannered, it’s still true that even the sweetest of dogs can bite someone if they’re scared or agitated. In addition, your dog doesn’t need to bite to injure someone. He could knock over a child or an elderly person, or cause someone to trip and fall. What financial protection do you have if that happens?
(Click here for tips for preventing dog bites.)
Homeowners insurance and dog bite liability
Dog bite coverage, also called pet or animal liability, covers legal and medical expenses for anyone your pet accidentally injures. While many homeowners (and renters) insurance policies do offer liability protection if your dog bites or otherwise injures someone, more and more home insurance companies are excluding dog bite liability or limiting coverage. Some companies won’t cover certain dog breeds thought to be aggressive, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers.
If you have a dog, review your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it includes animal liability. And if you buy or adopt a dog during your policy term, check with your insurance company to make sure you have animal liability coverage should you need it.
Animal liability options
If your homeowners policy doesn’t cover animal liability, or doesn’t provide enough coverage, you have some options. You may be able to buy an umbrella policy to supplement your homeowners coverage—just make sure the policy you choose includes animal liability.
Also, some Florida insurance companies have created separate dog bite liability policies or endorsements that offer more coverage and/or don’t have any breed restrictions.
Finding the appropriate policy is something you’ll want to discuss with your insurance agent.
Lakewood Financial Services for all your insurance needs
Whether or not you have a dog, if you need a homeowners insurance policy, please give Lakewood Financial a call (941-747-4600) or click here to contact us online. One of our trusted agents can guide you through the process of finding the insurance coverage that’s best for your individual situation.
In addition to homeowners, we also write most types of insurance, including auto, business and commercial, flood, and life. Lakewood Financial Services is an independent agency located in Lakewood Ranch, and serves clients in Bradenton, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, and surrounding communities.