Are Dog Bites Covered Under Your Homeowner Insurance Policy?

August 13, 2020

Who doesn’t love a dog? There are many pet parents in Florida that own at least one dog and want to have more. The happiness of having a dog around and the love that is shared is beyond words. Nothing can explain the wonderful experience of owning a dog. But, what if one day your dog bites your neighbor, or knocks them over? Does homeowners insurance Tampa FL pay for the injury caused?

There are nearly eighty million dogs owned as pets in the United States, and approximately 6% of them are involved in some kind of biting incident each year. Imagine you own a bulldog who is always well behaved. Under normal circumstances, it doesn’t harm anyone, but one unfortunate day, it bites your friendly neighbor who was visiting you. According to the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20% of all dog bites are severe and need medical attention that results in a huge hospital bill. Now add the cost of lost productivity and wages and other expenses to it. Does your renters’ insurance or homeowners insurance Tampa FL pay for the injury, or do you?

Dog Owner’s Liability

Did you know that Florida is the #2 state in the country for dog bites? As per law, a dog owner or pet parent is strictly liable if their dog bites someone. Unlike other states that have the ‘one-bite rule’ in which the dog owner is held liable only if the dog is a repeat offender, Florida follows strict liability statutes. 

If you are a dog owner residing in the state of Florida, you must have appropriate insurance coverage to pay for the damages. Due to the increasing frequency of claims in Florida, many service providers have excluded animal liability from Tampa homeowners insurance policies, but you can add animal liability as an added coverage. 

Pet liability insurance as a coverage to your homeowners insurance Tampa FL comes with a cost as well as exceptions. Depending on your insurer, some incidents of a dog bite may not be covered, especially if your dog has a history of biting. Besides, if your dog belongs to a breed that is categorized as a “high-risk” breed, it may not be covered. Every insurer has different rules, and it is suggested to contact your insurance provider to understand what exceptions apply.