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dog bite liability

Dog Bite Liability 101

Dogs are one of humans’ most faithful companions and are one of the most popular live-in pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, as found on the Statista website, American households include almost 90 million dogs. 

Estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that in the U.S, 4.5 million people get bitten by a dog every year. A closer look showed that among children, dog bites typically occur the highest in those between the ages of 5 and 9 years old. 

Furthermore, more than 50% of dog-bite injuries take place at home and the dogs are not strangers to the victims. Now, nobody wants to admit to the fact that your easygoing pet could bring harm to another human. 

While you may know your dog to be amazing, playful, and generally friendly, there is always a chance that your dog might get triggered and overstep the bounds of friendly into that of an attacker. When this happens, then what’s next? 

Apart from tempers flaring and you trying your best to apologize and keep the situation in control, you might also find yourself being slammed with a lawsuit. This is where homeowners insurance that covers dog bite liability comes in. 

Under normal circumstances, homeowners and renters insurance policies cover dog bite liability legal expenses with liability limits usually around $100,000 to $300,000 but some standard policies may also exclude coverage. If in the event that the claim exceeds the already stated limit, the dog owner assumes responsibility for the extra sum not covered by the insurance.    

What is Dog Bite Liability Coverage?

Dog bite liability is usually an aspect of homeowners’ insurance and provides the funds to cover expenses or settlements that stem from lawsuits or medical bills as a result of a dog bite but they usually have a set limit. 

The severity of the dog bite typically determines how much legal and medical expenses would result. There are certain diseases spread by animals and this makes the situation a lot dicier. Generally, bites from obviously aggressive breeds of dogs usually cost a lot more. 

Having a pet isn’t always a joyride. There is the possibility of bites happening and you would be surprised at just how often this can happen. There are various policies and you could get one that covers both incidents that occur away from home and those that may occur to a trespasser on your property. 

If you plan to have your dogs exposed to other people, especially when you’re hosting in your home, then a dog bite liability coverage is very essential. 

Why Do You Need Dog Liability Insurance?

There are a number of reasons why you might need to include a dog bite liability policy. One of the main reasons for this is because most insurance companies have a list of dogs termed dangerous which they do not cover in their insurance policies. It doesn’t matter whether or not the dog has a bite history, they are completely excluded.

These dog breeds typically include Doberman Pinschers, Pit Bulls, Great Danes, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Wolf Hybrids, Staffordshire Terriers, and Alaskan Huskies. Insurance coverage helps to protect your personal finances from the onslaught that a lawsuit may have on it in the event of an incident involving your pet.  

Lawsuits from dog bite incidents may be so expensive that a lack of proper coverage can drive a homeowner to bankruptcy. In other cases, it could result in you having to forfeit your home. 

Irrespective of your state, you would be liable for an incident with your dog especially if you had foreknowledge that your dog could tend to get aggressive. In some other states, a dog owner would still be held liable whether or not he or she was aware that his pet had a tendency to go teeth happy. 

Dog owners can be held liable under one of three laws:

  • Dog-bite statutes: You, the dog owner, automatically assume responsibility for whatever property damage or injury that your unprovoked dog is attributed to have caused. 
  • One-bite rules: You, the dog owner, automatically assume responsibility for injuries caused by your dog if you had previous knowledge that your dog had a tendency to get aggressive or bite. If you’re slammed with a lawsuit in this case, whoever is suing you must prevent evidence to confirm this.  
  • Negligence laws: You, the dog owner, automatically assume responsibility for injuries caused by your dog if the injuries occurred as a result of your negligence during handling. 

Although your dog may be very gentle with no history of aggression, provided it is on the list of breeds deemed dangerous, your homeowners or renters insurance would not cover dog bite liability. 

Also, if your dog has had a previous record of biting someone, you may need to get dog liability insurance. All dogs have a tendency to bite if they are scared or feel threatened. If you have noticed aggressive behavior in your pet, probably while they were playing with a friend or neighbor, then insurance is necessary. 

In addition, condo associations, subdivision associations, and landlords usually require it. 

How Do You Get Dog Liability Insurance?

Presently, there are a number of insurance producers and insurance companies that offer canine liability insurance. You can contact them if your apartment complex or county or homeowners association mandates that you carry out the process. To start with, you need to identify a company in your state that has a license to sell insurance. 

You need to closely study the policies to ensure that you’re getting the best and that there are no exclusions that may come back to bite you in the butt later. For instance, some companies only provide coverage for your dog when they are within the confines of your property.

Therefore, if the incident happened outside of your property, probably in the neighborhood or someplace, every payment in the form of compensation comes out of your pocket. 

Different companies determine the amount of premium that they would charge. Typically, the companies offer different policies with varying set policies; factors considered usually include the deductible, bite history, and dog breed. 

Some companies also allow you to take out unique policies for specific dogs. For instance, you may pay lower if you can prove that the dog has had no history of aggression or biting. Other factors like specialized training or presenting proof of obedience training can help to significantly lower your payments. 

While the thought of getting dog liability insurance simply because other people feel unsafe around your pet may be quite icky, it is advisable to have coverage in place in case you eventually get to see another side to your pet that you never imagined was there. 

Once you have a policy in place, you can continue your pleasant association with your pet with an assurance that you’ve got you and your pet covered in the event of any incidents. 

XINSURANCE is one of such companies that offer animal liability coverage solutions regardless of breed or bite history or a number of other factors that may otherwise prevent you from getting a great plan. To learn more about XINSURANCE or to get a quote, call 877-585-2853 or email

Rick LindseyAuthored by Rick J. Lindsey, President, Chairman, and CEO of XINSURANCE

Rick J. Lindsey hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working in the mailroom of his father’s Salt Lake City insurance firm, getting his introduction to the business that became his lifelong career. Rick J. Lindsey quickly rose through the ranks while working in nearly every imaginable insurance industry job. As an entrepreneur, specialty lines underwriter, claims specialist, risk manager, and a licensed surplus lines broker, Rick J. Lindsey is highly skilled in all levels of leadership and execution. As he progressed on his career path, Rick J. Lindsey discovered an urgent need for insurers willing to write policies for high-risk individuals and businesses. He was frequently frustrated that he could not provide the liability protection these entities desperately needed to safeguard their assets. He also formed the belief that insurance companies acted too quickly to settle frivolous claims. Rick J. Lindsey decided to try a different approach. He started an insurance company and became the newly formed entity’s CEO. This opportunity has enabled Rick J. Lindsey to fill a void in the market and provide a valuable service to businesses, individuals, and insurance agents who write high-risk business. XINSURANCE also specializes in helping individuals and businesses who live a lifestyle or participate in activities that make them difficult for traditional carriers to insure. If you’ve been denied, non-renewed, or canceled coverage, don’t give up quite yet. Chances are XINSURANCE can help.