There was a time when a dog bit or injured someone, the dog owner's homeowners insurance policy would cover the loss, providing payment for medical expenses, future cosmetic surgery, and pain and suffering.  More and more frequently, insurance companies are including exclusions in the policy that take away insurance coverage for these situations.

The most common exclusion that has been added to policies is one that excludes from coverage any claims caused by a dog that is a "dangerous" breed.  This may include pit bulls, rotweilers, great danes, and other breeds customarily viewed as more dangerous.

Nationwide Insurance Company, one of the leading insurance companies in the nation, now has an exclusion that takes away coverage if the dog has bitten someone previously.

What should someone do if they own a dog and have concerns?  First, contact your agent and find out what exclusions are in your policy.  Look at your homeowner's policy and see what exclusions are listed in the liability coverage.

Some insurance companies will still insure you for a dangerous breed dog, but you will have to pay a higher premium. If the insurance company that insures your home will not cover your dog, there are several insurance companies who simply provide liability insurance for dog owners.

All of this makes it difficult for both dog owners and victims of dog attacks.  Victims of dog attacks have a difficult time making a recovery when the dog owner does not have insurance to cover the incident.  In those instances, the victim will have to make a determination if the dog owner has sufficient assets to proceed against the owner.
It just shows how important it is to read the fine print of insurance policies. You might end up in a situation where you thought your policy covers dog attacks, but in fact it doesn't. Paying the victim can amount to a huge sum of money which the insurance company does not cover.
by Chris Chinniah May 3, 2012 at 04:35 AM
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