“You probably do not think your dog would ever bite anyone, let alone cause serious injury, but dog bites are more common than you may realize. 4.5 million occur each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most of the victims are young children.
Keep in mind that it is not just pieces that cause damage. Dogs can also knock down pedestrians or cyclists, often leading to serious medical problems.
These damages also have a greater impact on homeowners insurance than you may realize: The Insurance Information Institute says that hundred-related claims account for more than $ 600 million in insurance payments in 201
With these numbers in mind, it is understandable that insurance companies want to know if you have a dog in your household. Some will even refuse to insure you if you have a specific breed with a reputation for aggressive behavior, whether or not your dog has ever bitten someone.
Despite this, you should never hide the fact that you have a dog from your insurance. business. If you do, and your dog then causes an injury, your coverage can be void – leaving you on the hook for potentially tens of thousands of dollars or more.
When a bite occurs
OK, so your insurance company knows about your dog, but do you have to tell them if the dog bites or hurts someone?
It depends. If it's a minor incident, you may want to consider paying out of pocket for any medical expenses in an effort to avoid the damage process and a potential increase in your premiums. In some cases, insurance companies will not renew your insurance or exclude your dog from coverage after paying for a dog-related claim.
However, this may violate your policy, which probably requires you to report changes in your circumstances. If you do not report a bite, and the dog then bites someone else later, the insurance company may deny you liability insurance for the second incident. Ask your non-life insurance advisor to describe your options.
Another risk is the threat of future claims from the victim. Damage is not always visible immediately and complications can occur later. The victim may decide to sue you. And if you have waited too long to report the incident to your insurance company, it may be too late to claim and get all the protection that your policy was intended to provide – which may include help with legal fees, medical bills and more.
A mistake of $ 33,000?
What would your budget look like if you had an unexpected cost of $ 33,000? The average compensation payment for a dog injury in 2016 was approximately that amount, and that is with an insurance company that works on behalf of the insured. If you are on your own, you can stop paying even more.
Our advice? Start with your Bolder Insurance Advisor and discuss your specific situation. Even if you decide not to file a claim – which is always an option – you will receive guidance from a professional who can help you assess the risk.
Always look at your individual insurances for coverage or contact one of our Bolder Insurance Advisors to review your specific insurance.
Content Provided by Safeco Insurance, A Liberty Mutual Company