Dog bite insurance

What Do I Do I My Dog Bites Someone?

Though you may think that your dog is the most lovable ball of fluff, they can be a huge insurance liability! Being informed of the potential risks that go along with owning a dog can be greatly helpful in preventing accidents from occurring. If your dog does bite someone, it can be expensive. It’s a common occurrence, but not a good one. Being knowledgeable about claim risks will help you to prevent some financial costs down the line.


The Stats:

  • In 2014, Over one third of all homeowner liability insurance claims were dog-related. This amounts to $530 Million dollars paid out in liability insurance.
  • 4.7 Million dog bites occur each year. Of those dog bites, about 1/5 will become infected.
  • From 2003 to 2014, there was a 67% increase in the cost per dog bite claim.


The Risk in Massachusetts:

  • A person who has experienced a dog-related injury or property damage has 3 years to file a lawsuit.
  • In MA, the dog’s owner is ALWAYS responsible for all actions of their dog. This includes all injuries and damaged property. In other states, the law may differ.
  • Massachusetts is a Strict Liability State. This means that even if the owner has no prior knowledge that their pet would cause harm, they are still responsible. Again, this may differ by state so it is important to check local laws.
  • There are some insurance companies who refuse to cover breeds that have an aggressive reputation. Other insurers may cover aggressive breeds, but they may charge more since they are viewed as a higher liability.
  • Failing to tell your insurance company that you have a dog, or other pets, can result in violating your policy.


How to Avoid a Claim:

  • Talk to an insurance agent to go over your coverage. Make sure that you have enough homeowners insurance coverage just in case someone files a claim against your dog.
  • Whenever you take your dog outside of your home, put it on a leash. If something unexpected arises, then you will be able to have control of your dog. Even if it’s just a quick stroll around the neighborhood, it’s never a bad idea to put a leash on your dog.
  • Keep a close eye on children if they approach your dog. Children can make sudden movements or noise that may spook your pup. It’s always a good idea to have adult supervision when your dog is playing with children.
  • Take your dog to the vet to get all vaccinations and immunizations. This is not only good for your do’s health, but it can help keep others safe too. It helps prevent diseases from spreading.
  • Have your dog professionally trained. Obedience training with a certified trainer is a good way to ensure that your dog will listen to you. If your dog is out of control and has no formal training, there’s a higher likelihood they won’t listen to you or anyone else. It can create unnecessary dangerous situations.


What if My Dog Bite Someone?

  1. If your dog bites someone else, the first thing to do is STAY CALM.
  2. Help the bite victim clean off their wounds with warm water and soap.
  3. Get medical attention for the bite victim. Even if the bite doesn’t appear to be too bad, it’s best to seek out a medical professional. Many dog bites get infected and seeing a doctor will help prevent infections from occurring.
  4. If the bite is severe, call an ambulance.
  5. Exchange insurance information and get the contact information from the bite victim.
  6. Call your vet and get your pet’s medical records. You’ll need to prove that your dog has their rabies vaccination.
  7. Inform the local authorities of the incident.

After this is done, there are some things to note about your dog. Your dog may be considered a dangerous dog after biting someone. This would require you and your dog to follow specific set of laws to ensure the safety of others going forward. It’s best to prevent these incidents from occurring at all.


Call Encharter at 888.754.8299 to talk about homeowners insurance and how your can help protect yourself and your dog!


Additional Sources:

The Insurance Information Institute

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