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Florida Homeowners’ Insurance and Dog Bites

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation estimates that 36.5 percent of all households across the United States own dogs.  Most dog owners have friendly and loved pets, but on occasion, a dog will unexpectedly bite.  The unfortunate victim may be a friend, neighbor, or passerby.  The injured victim may attempt to file a claim for damages from you, the dog’s owner.  The good news is, in many cases, your homeowners’ insurance will cover or defend against the claim.

The homeowners’ insurance attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have assisted numerous homeowners with claims concerning dog bites.  Dog bite claims are among the most common of all homeowners’ insurance claims and it is important for our dog owning clients to be covered in the event of a bite.

Most Homeowners’ Insurance Policies Will Cover Dog Bites, But Numerous Exclusions Apply

If you have a standard homeowners’ insurance policy, you will likely have some form of dog bite coverage under your liability provisions.  However, your policy will likely contain several important exclusions.  The policy will most likely state that it will not cover damages caused by the bites of dogs of certain breeds.  So-called “dangerous dog breeds,” frequently excluded from coverage, include:

  • Pit Bull
  • German Shepherd
  • Akita
  • Rottweiler
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow Chow
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Siberian Husky
  • Presa Canario
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Mixes of these breeds are also excluded under most homeowners’ insurance policies.  If you own one of these breeds, you should assess whether it would be wise to purchase a separate dog bite policy specifically for your dog or dogs.

Dog bite wounds can result in considerable expenses and you do not want to personally be liable for these expenses.  It is critical that you fight for your homeowners’ insurance to cover these damages.  If your dog has bitten another, contact your homeowners’ insurance provider and carefully review your personal liability coverage.  From there, allow the insurance agency adjusters to investigate the circumstances surrounding the bite.  If the damages are considerable and lawsuit results, your homeowners’ insurance company is the first call you should make.  If you find yourself struggling to obtain the assistance of the homeowners’ insurance company, consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Steps to Minimize Your Risks as a Homeowner

If you own a dog, you should first protect yourself by ensuring you have adequate insurance coverage.  Notify your insurance company of your dog and make sure the breed is not excluded.  If necessary, take out a separate policy that will cover your pooch.  Always obey the leash law and never allow your dog to wander.  Post “Beware of Dog” signs on your property, which may eliminate your liability in the event of a dog bite according to Florida law.

Contact the Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano Today For Your Free Consultation!

If you need assistance with a homeowners’ insurance related matter, contact the Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Attorneys at Greenberg, Stone & Urbano. Our exceptional firm offers the assistance you need to obtain the results you desire.  We have over 130 collective years of experience representing homeowners against their insurers across South Florida and will put our extensive experience to work for you.  Contact our firm as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.  Our firm received an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and was ranked as a top firm in South Florida by the Miami Herald.  Call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or you can visit our website to schedule your initial consultation.

 

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