“Don’t let the same dog bite you twice.” – Chuck Barry
The statement attributed to the late, great musician seems like pretty sound advice. Why would anyone let a dog bite him or her twice?
However pet owners, even if your normally friendly Fido bites only one person one time, you could still face legal and insurance ramifications.
This gives new meaning to “How much is that doggie in the window?”
A Dog Bite Can Land You in Court or Jail
The Insurance Information Institute says that dogs bite about 4.5 million people each year. More than half of those happen in homes with dogs we know.
In Connecticut alone, a story in Patch says the U.S. Postal Service reported 77 attacks on letter carriers.
Most Homeowners and Renters Insurance policies cover legal expenses that result from a dog bite. Unfortunately, if legal fees exceed coverage limits, the dog owner is responsible for any additional costs.
For relatively low cost, an Umbrella policy will extend your coverage to $1 million or more.
In cases where a dog seriously injures a person, you may face criminal charges. This is especially true if authorities can prove that you knew your dog was a potential threat or were negligent in controlling it. In one of the most serious cases, a California couple was sentenced to four years in prison after their dogs killed a neighbor.
Dogs killing people are rare, thankfully.
Still, for insurance purposes, make certain your carrier does not have a problem with your dog’s breed. Some companies will not provide coverage for dog breeds considered dangerous.
Some companies provide coverage for pet owners until the dog bites someone. Then, they will charge a higher premium or not renew a policy. Other companies will not insure any dog owners.
As an independent insurance agent, the Keating Agency works with numerous companies. This helps us find the best policy at the best price for you.
If you have, or plan to get a dog, we can talk about your coverage options. We also can suggest steps you can take to make insurers more comfortable covering you.
Give us a call today. We’re here to help.