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Dog Bites and Property Insurance Coverage in Florida

When we think of a homeowner’s insurance policy, the real estate itself in addition to any personal property such as furniture, appliances, clothing and jewelry come to mind. Many homeowner’s insurance policies do not provide coverage for dog bite accidents. Dog bites can happen when you least expect it. Your dog may become aggressive out of the blue, believe someone in your home, yard, or out in public,, and may bite someone. Or, you may be at another person’s home and are bit by that person’s dog.

Under Section 767.04 of the Florida Statutes, the law currently allows for a victim to recover damages from a dog owner for injuries suffered as a result of a dog bite. When a victim is awarded money damages, the defendant dog owner will have to come up with the money. Either the dog owner will pay out of pocket, or the dog owner may file a claim to receive coverage under a homeowner’s policy. If you have a homeowner’s policy and own a dog, it is imperative that you look at your policy to see if dog bites and other dog-related accidents are covered in the event someone is injured. Many policies have Dog Bite exclusions. This is yet another example where insurance companies limit or reduce coverages to decrease their exposure. Premium dollars go up while coverages go down.

Dogs are considered your personal property. This may seem degrading to some people, as we consider our dogs to be man’s best friend, however, there is no other category to put dogs into when addressing the unfortunate events that can arise as a consequence of dog ownership. Therefore, our Florida Homeowners Property Insurance Claims lawyers understand that dog bite coverage is typically included in a homeowner’s insurance policy if you actively choose to have such coverage.

There are insurance companies now in Florida that are creating dog bite insurance as a separate policy with no breed restrictions. This is important to note because many homeowner’s policies that cover dog bites have breed restrictions. So, if you own a Rottweiler, German Shepard or a Doberman Pinscher, you may be excluded from coverage even if you have a policy that generally covers dog bite incidents. The bottom line, review your policy and discuss the coverages you have BEFORE you have a claim. Protect thyself!

The Prevalence Of Dog Bite Claims In Florida

In 2010, reports indicate that 146 dog bite claims were filed, totaling $5.6 million in payouts, at an average of $38,400 per claim. This is certainly not an all inclusive number, as there are many dog bites which are either not reported, where settlements ar reached or where the victim decides not to prosecute a claim because there is little or no homeowner coverage. Florida is a very populous state with temperate weather, which may account for the prevalence of dog ownership, dog bites and subsequent claims filed each year under either a homeowner’s insurance policy or a separate dog bite insurance policy.

Reports also indicate that nearly one third of all claims filed under a homeowner’s insurance policy are related to dog bite accidents. This reflects that there is an increase in the dog population and therefore a consequent increase in the risk of getting bitten by a dog.

Change The Way You Look At Dog Bite Claims

If you adjust your view towards dog bites and the process by which they get resolved, considering dogs to be property may help us realize that dog bite claims are costly. After all, when there’s a natural disaster, the cost to a damaged home can be astronomical. So too can a dog bite claim. If you own a dog, paying a slightly higher premium in order to receive coverage for a potential dog bite scenario, may save you thousands in the future.

If you have suffered an injury from a dog bite, or if your dog has bitten someone else and you need to file a property insurance claim, you should contact an experienced property insurance claim attorney as soon as possible. If you are the victim, you may have a potential personal injury claim that may be paid out of the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance coverage. Whatever the specific situation may be for you, an attorney by your side will enable you to seek the resolution you desire.

Our firm has handled many, many dog bite cases where we have represented the victims of such bites and recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars on their behalf.


Contact Our Miami Property Insurance Claims Lawyers Today To Schedule Your Free Consultation

With over 100 years of combined experienced, the Miami Property Insurance Claims Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have been extraordinarily successful in helping their clients receive the compensation they deserve under their homeowners’ insurance policies, fighting diligently against the bad faith denial of claims. Our attorneys have been rated “AV” by Martindale Hubbell, have earned the recognition of being “Superlawyers,” a title which puts them in the category of being some of the best lawyers in America, and have been voted “South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers” by the Miami Herald. The Miami Property Insurance Claims Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano have also been invited to be members of Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Call Greenberg Stone and Urbano today to schedule your free consultation to evaluate your potential property insurance claim with one of our attorneys. You may contact us through our website or call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400.

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