Almost 50 million households in the United States include a canine pet. People love dogs, and they own them for countless reasons. Of course, most people want companionship from their dog. Others like to own a dog for personal protection or some other purpose.
The average dog owner doesn’t think about something as mundane as dog owner liability coverage. However, dogs of all sizes can cause injuries or property damage, whether they’ve shown aggression in the past or not.
States Hold Pet Owners Accountable For Their Dogs
Laws surrounding pet dogs and owner liability vary from state to state. Nonetheless, pet owners remain liable for the actions of their pets. If a dog bites a human being or another dog, the owner could be liable for damages.
The same potential consequence applies to property damage caused by a canine. Most pet owners assume their dogs would never attack someone or something else. Nonetheless, the law holds pet owners accountable if and when such incidents occur.
Liability Situations Arise Out of Nowhere And Cost Money
The most common situation where liability would come into play involves dog bites. A dog could bite a person and cause a $1,000 medical bill to treat the wound with stitches and antibiotics. Similarly, an individual’s dog could bite another animal and cause a similar veterinarian bill.
More severe bites or attacks could result in significantly larger medical expenses and legal liabilities. Other liability situations could see a dog crash through a glass window or cause damage to valuables through other means.
By and large, pet owners would be responsible for those expenses from a legal standpoint. An average person might be able to afford a $1,000 medical bill or replace a broken possession. When the liability creeps into the thousands, or tens of thousands, in cost, most pet owners cannot afford such hefty bills.
In fact, some of the largest dog liability cases have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages awarded to victims or plaintiffs.
Dog Liability Coverage Offers Protection and Peace of Mind
Without a doubt, the best protection from these situations is liability insurance. Standalone dog liability insurance is sometimes available from a handful of companies. Most people fail to realize dog liability is often included in a homeowners or renters insurance policy.
In simple terms, these insurance policies protect dog owners from liabilities created by their dogs. Dogs of all sizes and breeds can cause injuries or property damage, so such coverage should be considered mandatory for pet owners.
How It Works and Things To Keep In Mind
Dog liability often provides $100,000 in liability coverage, but larger coverage amounts may be available. Many policies restrict coverage for aggressive dog breeds or specific dogs with a history of bites. Therefore, dog owners need to take the time to sort through their options. Certain dogs might require a higher premium, and rarely, some dogs are excluded from any coverage.
The protection afforded by such liability coverage is vital for pet owners, though. Owners should skimp on this coverage due to cost alone.
In the end, dog owners shouldn’t fall into the mentality that a liability situation could never affect them. Even the smallest dogs can injure another person or animal or cause property damage. A pet owner might laugh off a $100 charge for medical treatment or property damage.
Then again, the situation becomes much less amusing in situations where the liability costs thousands of dollars. Dog liability coverage remains a simple and often affordable solution to prevent such nasty surprises.