Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Dogs may be a person’s best friend, but the reality is that dogs can also cause significant injuries if they bite somebody. Dog bite injuries are often unexpected, and injury victims usually have no idea where they can go to secure compensation after an incident occurs. Here, we want to talk about whether or not homeowners insurance in California will cover a dog bite injury. We also want to discuss California’s strict liability dog bite law and how this can affect the outcome of a claim.

California’s Dog Bite Laws

States throughout the country handle dog bite incidents in various ways. In some places, an injury victim is only able to secure compensation from a dog owner if the dog has previously bitten somebody before or if the dog owner’s negligence contributed to the incident. However, California operates under a “strict liability” dog bite law. This means that the dog’s owner will be responsible for any damages resulting from a bite, even if the dog has never bitten anybody before. So long as the injury victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private area, and as long as they did not provoke the dog, they can recover compensation. However, will homeowners insurance cover this compensation?

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover the Claim?

Dog bite injuries can lead to tremendous medical bills, so it is reasonable to ask whether or not the homeowners insurance of the dog owner will pay for the claim. In general, homeowners insurance will cover dog bite incidents. However, not every homeowners insurance policy covers dog bites. Every individual homeowners insurance carrier has a different way of handling dog bites. Some insurance carriers may require the homeowner to opt-in to the dog bite coverage, typically in the form of an insurance rider. This will increase the premium for the homeowner.

Additionally, you will find that most homeowners insurance policies have restrictions on the types of breeds that the homeowner is allowed to have if they want coverage for a dog bite incident. It is crucial that all homeowners check the details of their policy if they have a dog to find out if they will be covered if their dog bites and injures somebody else.

Are These Injuries Common?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in this country. Out of these incidents, around 800,000 people require medical care. Dogs can inflict various types of injuries on the human body, including the following:

  • Significant soft tissue damage
  • Major lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Significant blood loss
  • Severed arteries, veins, muscles, and tendons
  • Crushed bones in the hands or arms
  • Amputations of the fingers
  • Skin avulsions
  • Severe scarring and disfigurement

Dog bite incidents are one of the most common types of claims against homeowners insurance policies in California and throughout the country. If you or somebody you love has been injured by someone else’s dog, you should speak to an Irvine dog bite attorney as soon as possible. Even though California is a strict liability dog bite state, that does not mean that the insurance carrier or the at-fault party will willingly hand over the full amount needed to make you “whole” in this situation.