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08 Nov “Beware of Dog Liability” – Wisdom in Dog Bite Insurance
Many dog owners are asking themselves if they need dog bite insurance. First, it’s important to note that there are as many as 800,000 dog bites treated every year in the United States. The number of unreported dog bites is estimated to be as high as 3.9 million a year, and children account for more than 60 percent of dog bite victims. Many people own dogs as a method for deterring prowlers or trespassers. But, be advised, a “Beware of Dog” sign does not absolve you of liability for injury caused by your dog. Dog bite insurance could be an important consideration for any dog owner – especially owners of so-called dangerous breeds.
Most courts will hold you liable for the injuries your dog inflicts, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the bite. In some states, like New Mexico, there are “one bite” laws – even if the bite victim was trespassing on your property. In these states, you are strictly liable for any dog bites that take place after the first occurrence. You can also be held liable on the first dog bite if the courts find you were negligent in some manner.
As the number of dog bite injuries in the U.S. rises, more and more dog owners find themselves receiving cancellations of homeowners or renters insurance, or the policies that they purchase exclude coverage for incidents involving the breed of their dog. Your dog is legally a member of your household, and you can be held personally liable for your dog’s actions. Your policy can be in jeopardy even if your mixed breed dog’s background contains certain breeds. The breeds that insurance companies most often refuse coverage for are American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, the mixed breeds commonly called Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers. Because of their powerful jaws, these dogs can cause severe injury.
Whether your dog is considered a dangerous breed or not, it would be worth a phone call to your insurance agent to determine whether or not your dog is covered – before a dog bite incident occurs. You should also consider purchasing supplemental dog bite insurance or animal liability insurance for your dog. This type of coverage is relatively inexpensive, is easy to obtain, and could save you all kinds of expensive legal hassle. Online quotes for supplemental dog bite insurance coverage can be obtained through www.xinsurance.com.