We can all agree that love for our furry friends knows no bounds. But, in the event of a dog bite, whether it’s between your dog and another dog or your dog and a human, you could have a lawsuit on your hands.
The good thing is: Most of what your dog does is actually covered by your homeowners insurance.
This comes in real handy for homeowners because according to Consumer Reports, more than half of all dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property, and they account for one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims.
So how exactly does your insurance protect you if sweet little sparky gets a bit too agressive?
Most homeowner’s policies have personal liability clauses, which detail where your coverage protects you if your dog bites someone else, or damages their property. For example, say you’re out at the local dog park and Mr. Snuggles accidentally bites his puppy pal, your homeowners insurance covers any vet bills that may come back to you by way of that dog’s owner!
A common misconception is that home insurance protects you only when you’re inside your home. But this is false. You’re also covered when you (and your dog) are out on the town – yet another reason why home insurance is so important.
Bonus: Insurance also has your back if you or your dog injures or causes damage to others (which we hope never happens!). But hopefully now, you feel a bit more at ease bringing your dogs to the park.
It is important to note, however, that there are two exceptions to this rule:
1. If your dog has a history of biting
2. If your dog is of a breed that is currently categorized as ‘vicious’
Dogs in this category include Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, Staffordshire Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Chows, Presa Canarios, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Siberian Huskies, and Wolf-hybrids.
Now, we know how sweet these breeds can be, but rules are rules, so it’s important to be informed.
Tips to prevent dog bites
- Socializie your dog with regular walks in public areas
- Visit dog parks where your dog can learn how to interact
- Set up play dates with other dogs (under supervision, of course)
- Try a dog trainer if necessary
Tips to help ensure positive interaction
- Don’t make sudden movements when approaching a pup to say hi
- Don’t suprise a dog by approaching it from behind
- Always hold out your hand first, palm down for the dog to sniff (like shaking hands)
- Never pet an unfamiliar dog when they are sleeping, eating, or chewing on a toy
- Make sure small children are gently petting the dog rather than grabbing / pulling – they often don’t know their own strength!
- If dogs ever seem like they’re becoming aggressive, the best strategy is to stop making eye contact, slowly back away, and alert the owner of the behavior.
Just remember, it’s probably not the dog’s intention to be “bad” – their reaction is most likely a combination of things that are just out of their control, so it helps to be an informed, responsible dog owner.
At any rate, the best way to stay safe and keep everyone happy is to be mindful of your pup and to make sure your coverage is up-to-date!
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