Typically when you purchase a new home, it’s understood you need homeowner’s insurance. In contrast, animal liability coverage often flies right under the radar of new and current pet owners. However, with nearly 4.5 million people being bitten—just by dogs—every year, pet owners absolutely need this type of coverage.
Animal Liability Coverage for Your Pets
More than 70 percent of dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property, with nearly 60 percent of dog bite victims being children. Dog-related damage has also been reported as a leading cause of homeowner’s insurance claims and accounted for nearly one-third of all 2016 claims.
Animal liability coverage varies from state-to-state. Unfortunately, since insurers cannot gauge the temperament of your furry friend, they have to base their decisions off reported statistics and studies. Dog breed will always be a determinant in the insuring process. Owners of certain breeds are most likely not going to be able to obtain coverage due to the dogs aggressive nature.
For example, a dog bite study published in 2017 revealed since 2001 Pit Bull breed types have accounted for nearly 37.5 percent of all dog bites. German Shepherds accounted for 7.1 percent of all dog bites, although before this study, this breed made up 20.1 percent of all bites. A few other dog breeds often excluded are Rottweilers, Akitas, wolves, wolf hybrids, and also any mix of these breeds.
Maybe you don’t think you need coverage because your dog is small and mellow. Consider this: many dogs don’t exhibit violent behavior at all and most dog bites are unprovoked. Not only that, size doesn’t matter because even a tiny dog can seriously injure a child, causing cuts, lacerations, broken bones, and puncture wounds. Often, a dog attack leaves behind deep scars.
It’s critical to remember that any dog is capable of biting under all situations and for a variety of reasons. These reasons include fear, pain, possessiveness, maternal instincts, and finally, prey drive. Pay attention to the dog’s body language, such as a tensed body, yawning, and an intense stare. Here are a few tips to remember:
- If approached by a strange dog, remain calm and don’t scream or run.
- Never put your face in the face of another dog, especially one that isn’t yours.
- Never leave a child alone with a dog. Dogs can attack babies or small children as a result of prey drive.
- Don’t stare a dog in the eye. It can be seen as a challenge.
- Protection of property can be a big issue. Properly train your dog to reduce this type of behavior. Likewise, teach children to leave the dog(s) alone while they eat their food or treats.
- Finally, dog bite prevention education starts in your home with your family and dogs.
Obtain Animal Liability Coverage
Florida owners can be held liable for a dog bite, whether or not they were previously aware of any aggressive behavior of the dog. The injured party doesn’t have to prove the bite resulted from the owner’s negligence, which is another good reason to purchase coverage. However, if your dog has a history of biting or aggressive behavior, then you most likely won’t qualify. Contact E&L Insurance at (888) 700-4049 to obtain more information on animal liability coverage.