Does my homeowner’s insurance coverage cover dog bites?

Everyone loves dogs; or at least many Americans do.  Studies show that between 37% and 47% of all households in the United States have dogs.  Unfortunately, dog bites occur, sometimes through no fault of the owner or pet.  If you or a loved one is bitten by someone else’s dog, it is important to know who may be held responsible for the dog bite, and whether or not the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance coverage will compensate the injured party.

Under Florida law, an owner is strictly liable if his dog bites someone.  In other words, an owner may be held accountable for the injuries, and damages a person suffers as a direct result of their dog’s actions.  Unlike most other states, in Florida an injured party does not have to prove that the owner had prior knowledge or warning that his dog may bite.

If you are the victim of a dog bite it is essential to know whether or not the attack is covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.  In most instances, the liability portion of the homeowner’s insurance policy will apply if there are no exclusions for dogs or animals within the policy.  A policy that specifically excludes dog bites may read as follows:

“Personal Liability protection does not apply to bodily injury or property damage caused by or arising out of any animal whether or not the injury occurs on your premises or any other location.”

Another form of exclusion that is being found more frequently in homeowner’s insurance policies is breed specific exclusions.  Common dog breeds that are specifically excluded from homeowner’s insurance policies include the German Shepherd, Pit Bull and Rottweiler.

If a dog bite is not covered by the owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy, then that person may be held personally responsible for any and all injuries and damages arising out of the dog bite.  It is important for dog owners to know whether or not they will be protected by their homeowner’s insurance policy if, or when their dog bites someone.

When confronted with a dog bite it is important to know your rights.  An attorney can help evaluate your situation, and more specifically find out whether or not there is homeowner’s insurance coverage available to compensate you for your injuries.

For more information, call us today. (786) 899-3500. All consultations are free.

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