Southern California, specifically Los Angeles, continues to be the nation’s number one region in terms of dog bite incidents. According to a report published by a major insurance carrier during National Dog Bite Prevention Week—which takes place in April—more of these claims are filed in the Golden State than anywhere else. During the same week, the United States Postal Service reported the City of Angels continues to hold the second spot in terms of dog bite incidents suffered by postal carriers. These reports even track canine breeds, and pit bulls are the most likely to be involved in these incidents.
On an annual basis, more than 4 million dog bites are reported to hospitals, police departments, and insurance companies, but animal control experts believe quite a few go unreported because victims don’t think they’re serious enough. Biting is part of canine behavior, and it doesn’t always have to be related to aggression. The professionals from Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of renters, home, and auto insurance San Diego residents rely on for reliable, affordable coverage, offer the following things you should know in case your dog bites a human.
Your Dog Isn’t Liable
As can be imagined, holding the dog liable for biting wouldn’t be logical. Thus, the burden of liability shifts to the dog’s owner, and this is important to acknowledge in terms of the severity of the incident. A single bite while in your presence might be considered an accident. However, as the pet owner, you’re expected to control your dog so it doesn’t bite again. A situation that results in multiple bites could complicate things if an investigation determines you failed to prevent them.
You’re Liable for Medical and Legal Expenses
The first concern in a dog bite incident is the health of the victim. The second concern is how much treatment will end up costing. Most homeowners insurance policies feature coverage in case of dog bites, and the range of claim limits in 2019 is between $100,000 and $300,000. Medical treatment expenses are the first claims you can expect to be filed—either by victims or healthcare facilities—followed by civil lawsuits.
Renters Insurance Policies May Provide Coverage
If you’re a tenant instead of a homeowner, your renters insurance policy may feature coverage that protects you in case of dog bite incidents, and the limits will be similar to those mentioned above. This is a good reason to contact your insurance agent and inquire about rental insurance plans, but you may have to deal with the issue of canine breed.
You May Be Affected by Insurance Exceptions and Issues
In California, state law prevents dog breed discrimination. However, this doesn’t extend to municipal ordinances or insurance company regulations. Some insurers may decline coverage for certain breeds—pit bulls and Rottweilers come to mind—or they may charge higher premiums. More importantly, you may have to reconsider dog ownership after one or two dog bite incidents, since they can exponentially increase your homeowners or renters insurance premiums, and they may even result in declined coverage for future incidents.
Whether you rent or own your home, if you have a dog, check with your insurance agent about coverage in case of dog bites. For reliable, affordable homeowners and renters insurance, San Diego residents know they can trust Altra Insurance Services. We also provide commercial, motorcycle, and auto insurance. Receive a free quote by calling one of our friendly agents today at 619-474-6666.