How, when, and if you should report a dog bite to your home insurer.
Most of us treat our dogs like members of the family. We love them, care for them, and even take them on vacation with us. Life wouldn’t be the same without our four-legged friends. While you may not think that your dog would ever bite someone, let alone cause serious injury, the reality is that dog bites do happen. Around 4.5 million dog bites occur every year across the nation. Many of the victims are, unfortunately, children.
As a homeowner, dog-related injuries can cause a nightmare situation. Dogs can knock down pedestrians, cyclists, and elderly people, too. This often results in medical issues. So, say Rover ended up nipping someone, should you file an insurance claim?
Whether or not you alert your insurer to your dog biting or injuring someone is dependent on the situation. If it’s a minor accident, you might consider paying for any medical expenses out of your own pocket. This can avoid a claim and a potential increase in your premiums. In some cases, a home insurer will drop you from coverage or exclude your dog from cover. Be sure to check your policy’s fine print, since not reporting an accident could violate your policy.
The trouble really comes after the bite or injury. The injured could decide to sue later on down the line, especially if it has left him or her facing high medical bills and taking time off work. In this case, it’s wise to have reported the bite to your insurer as soon as it happened. If you’ve waited too long to report the accident, it might mean that you’re on the hook for all of the attorney fees, medical bills, and more. As a good rule of thumb to protect yourself, report the accident to your insurer immediately.
If your dog does cause injury to someone, call your agent and he or she can start the claims process. Remember to take down as many details of the accident as possible, including pictures and eyewitness information.