Pet lovers across the world are really fond of their dogs. They consider their dogs to be their most treasured possession and cherish each and every moment they share with them in a most vivid manner. However, when people come to visit your house they might not necessarily find your dog to be the most fruitful companion for them. Infact the general trend in a country like US shows that dog bites cost homeowners dearly in terms of liability claims.
According to the 2011 data, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of the total insurance liability claims made by home owners. The amount mounted upto $479 million according to reports by the Insurance Information Institute.
Another major US insurance organisation State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company stated that more than $109 million was claimed by policy holders as a result of almost 3,800 dog bites.
Claiming what is yours
In the state of Florida for example, any person owning a dog is bound to pay for the damages suffered by any concerned person in a public place, regardless of whether the dog owner has any kind of knowledge on what his or her dog might have been doing. However, if negligence is proved on part of the victim leading to the dog bite, the overall liability can be reduced or even waived off accordingly.
The general trend in case of dog bite liability claim is that the range for coverage is limited between $100,000 and $300,000. If this claim limit is exceeded by any means, then the dog owner is personally liable for paying the remaining cost of damages. There is also a no-fault medical coverage in case the dog bites a neighbour or a friend.
The ifs and buts
Companies like Florida Homeowners Insurance or Florida Renters Insurance covers some of the typical damages that are caused by dog bites. However, what can be unfortunate is that most of these firms follow the one-bite rule which necessarily means that in case your dog bites more than once, you are not liable of receiving the claims. There are even certain cases when inspite of covering more than one bite, the insurance companies put at least some roadblocks by including clauses like canine exclusion.
In addition to these generic terms, some of the insurance companies might even limit or exclude the animal liability coverage based on the breed behaviour of the particular dog. Firms may also exclude dogs that might have a history of biting. However there are also certain options to limit your exposure by opting for certain umbrella policy or particular animal liability coverages.
Why has the cost increased?
Experts believe that the drastic rise in the overall claims may be attributed to facts like increasing medical costs, the increasing size of settlement, jury and judgement awards which has been rising significantly due to the increasing inflationary pressures.
Concluding the claimants dilemma
At the end thus it can be said that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Be sure about what you have and what you can afford in case your dog bites anyone. What would be best is to lock the door and keep your dog within the house perimeter before it starts hurting anyone.
Mathew Heard is a personal injury lawyer since a couple of years and was trained by a personal injury lawyer in Oakland. His expert tips helps you make the right decisions in injury claims.