Renters Insurance and Dog Bites: What You Need to Know
For many of us, dogs are more than merely pets, they are best friends and members of the family. However, owning a dog includes risks, including the chance that your furry friend may cause property damage. There is also the possibility that even the most well-behaved dog could hurt another person. Luckily, there are ways to insure yourself against damage or harm caused by your dog. Read on to learn more about renters insurance coverage of dog bite incidents.
Renter's Insurance Coverage of Dog Bites
Renters insurance is a type of home insurance that protects those who rent a home against theft, loss, and liability. It typically covers your personal property, and will pay to replace items that are stolen, damaged, or destroyed. Renters insurance will also shield you from liability if a person is injured while in your rental home.
This coverage sometimes will include coverage of injuries resulting from a dog bite that occurs within your apartment. Dog bites are typically covered under the personal liability section of renters insurance policies. Your personal exposure to damages resulting from a dog bite can be significant. Initial injuries from dog bites can be devastating—even domestic breeds have been known to kill tenants in apartment buildings.
The extent of dog bite injuries can also be difficult to discern based on the initial bite. Even minor injuries can lead to infection or nerve damage, and result in extensive treatment and even multiple surgeries. For this reason, it's not uncommon for dog bites to result in personal injury lawsuits. Each state has its own laws regarding dog bite lawsuits, and some states hold dog owners strictly liable for dog bite injuries, regardless of relative fault.
Does Your Policy Cover Your Type of Dog?
Only some types of renters insurance cover injuries due to dog bites, so it's important to read your policy completely or ask your insurance agent to be sure you are covered. Some insurance companies exclude certain breeds of dogs from renter's insurance coverage. This includes traditionally larger, more aggressive, or overly protective breeds including:
- Pit bulls
- German Shepherds
If you own a larger dog, check with your insurance policy to determine if your dog is covered. If your particular dog is excluded by your renter's insurance policy, you may have to purchase additional insurance coverage to remain adequately protected. A good option to consider is an umbrella policy, which is an optional policy that extends your liability coverage. An umbrella policy can cover unanticipated medical bills or litigation costs associated with a dog bite. These sorts of policies will also cover you while you're at home, or in any other location, so you are protected against injuries that could occur while you're walking your dog, in a dog park, or injuries that are caused if your dog runs away.
Have a Dog Bite Claim? Get Help From an Attorney Today
If you've been injured due to a dog bite, then you understand how devastating these types of injuries can be. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owners of the dog or other responsible parties. A great first step is to speak with an experience personal injury lawyer near you.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.