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Homeowners Insurance: Dog Bite Liability Coverage Explained

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No matter how friendly a dog looks, mishaps do take place. In fact, over 4.5 million people are reportedly bitten by dogs each and every year. Understanding your rights regardless of what side of the claim that you’re on is a necessity to ensure your financial well-being.

Will Your Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
To explain the answer to this question, we first need to talk about liability insurance. Liability coverage is that specific section of a homeowner’s insurance policy that should cover things like dog bites and if your dog accidentally knocked someone over while they were in your home. Most homeowners don’t even realize this is a necessary part of coverage in their policy. It’s best to talk with a Los Angeles personal injury attorney to determine whether your homeowner’s insurance has the right liability coverage or not to cover dog-related injuries.

How Common Are Claims From Dog Bites?
As you just learned, not all people are familiar with the fact that their injuries can be covered by homeowner’s insurance. Of the 4.5 million dog bites that are reported annually, there are only about 16,000 claims reported annually to insurance companies. The average payout for this type of injury is around $35,000. This high price of these payouts is attributed to the rising costs of medical care in the United States according to any knowledgeable dog bite lawyer Los Angeles.

What Are Your Insurance Coverage Limits?
The specific coverage limits will highly depend on your individual coverage level. Typically coverages range from $100,000 to $300,000. The liability limits on some policies are shown with two numbers, such as $30,000 / $90,000. It’s vital to understand what this means. The first number is the maximum amount of coverage they will provide per person for an incident.

So, at the average rate of $35,000, you’d still owe around $5,000 out of pocket for the injuries. The second number is the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay out per incident. In this case, your insurance company would pay for three different people up to $30,000 that were injured due to the same incident. An experienced Los Angeles dog bite injury attorney can assist you in determining your coverage amounts per person and per incident.

Reading Through The Fine Print Of Your Insurance Policy Is A Must
Your Lawyer for dog bite attacks will stress the importance of reading through the fine print of your insurance policy. Some policies won’t cover dog-related incidents. Some are very strict on the type of dog that they cover, the state that you live in, and so forth. Understanding what requirements need to be met to receive coverage is a must.

If you’re not sure about the policy that you have and are having trouble finding information regarding this topic, you can enlist the help of a Los Angeles injury lawyer. Or, you can simply call up your insurance agent and discuss your current policy. They can give you instructions on what your policy covers and suggest other policies that may be more suited to your individual situation.

Dog Breed Restrictions
Any Dog bite lawyer Los Angeles will be able to give you a usual list of dogs that are not typically covered under insurance policies. These tend to be dog breeds that are known for their aggressiveness. Some common examples may include pit bulls, rottweilers, akitas, and german shepherds. In some cases, dogs that were involved in multiple incidents may no longer be covered by the insurer. They can put conditions in the fine print that states it will only cover one incident.

When Are You Held Liable For A Bite?
The answer to this question is that it really depends on the state that you live in and/or the circumstances of the situation. In general, there are three kinds of laws that govern dog bites. These are as follows:

  • Negligence Laws – In this law, you’re liable for a bite if you were careless in the control of your dog.
  • One-Bite Rule – This is only present in some states. It states that you’re not responsible for the first bite of your dog. But, any following bites you can be liable for.
  • Dog Bite Statutes – In states that use this law, you’re automatically liable for any injury or damage that your dog causes.

You may also be wondering if you’re going to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance if the injury occurs while you’re at your house. That’s not the case. In fact, your insurance coverage should kick in regardless of if the injury happened at a local park or outside of your vehicle. Just because it’s called homeowner’s insurance doesn’t mean that the incident has to happen at your home for it to be covered.

How Does A Claim Affect Your Premium?
When there is a claim filed because of the actions of your pet, you can expect your premium to go up. That’s just the natural case of claims on your policy. Also, it’s vital to realize that your insurer may not honor any more liability coverage after this point.

What any good Los Angeles dog bite injury attorney will tell you is that some insurance companies may retain coverage if you agree to take your dog to behavioral modification classes. Your Lawyer for dog bite attacks can usually work with your insurance company to find a solution to maintain your coverage in the future. If it’s not behavioral dog classes, then it may be restraining your dog in a more effective fashion.

Is Hiring A Lawyer Worth It?
The short answer is yes. Having a lawyer by your side, whether you’re the owner of the dog or the victim of the bite, is always a good idea. They can help you figure out the claims process and protect your financial well-being.

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