Top 3 Reasons to Get Canine Liability Insurance

Many pet owners with homeowner’s insurance find that their current policy does not cover canine-related injuries. Here are three reasons why it is important for any dog owner to consider purchasing liability insurance for dogs.

Consider the Cost of Dog Bites

The average dog bite claim in 2015 was almost $40,000 and has nearly doubled in the last decade. Medical attention for victims can quickly become costly, as dog bite injuries may cause numerous health threats that may require hospitalization, including the following:

  • Infection
  • Fractures
  • Open wounds
  • Septicemia

Cover More Than Bites

Although most dog-related injuries are the result of canine aggression, canine liability policies often cover more than just bites and scratches. Leashes or chew toys left on the ground can cause people to trip and injure themselves, which may leave the pet owner liable. For this reason, liability insurance for dogs is typically recommended for all canines, regardless of bite history and aggression levels.

Protect Both You and Dog-Bite Victims

Many dog owners minimize the impact dog bites can have on their dog’s victims or blame the victim’s actions. Canine attacks can be particularly devastating to children, who often incur severe facial damage due to their height. Having dog bite insurance can ensure the victim will receive the help he or she needs at minimal, cost to you.

Canine liability insurance varies in cost depending on the breed and aggression level. This typically makes it an excellent choice for all dog owners.

3 Things You Need to Know About Dog Insurance

Many dog owners are unaware of the hazards of not having liability dog insurance. It provides many benefits for people with dogs as well as anyone who interacts with the dog. Here are some things about dog insurance you may not have known.

1. It can Cover Legal Defense

In the event that your dog causes an injury, dog insurance can cover not only the medical bills involved but also the cost of legal defense should the situation require it. Many people don’t realize there could be a need to get lawyers involved in more serious incidents.

2. The Deductible May Surprise You

While each insurance company is different, there are companies offering dog insurance with no deductible. This means that even a small injury would be completely covered and you would never have to pay any money out of pocket.

3. Individual Dog Policies Offered

Some insurance companies will tailor dog insurance policies specifically to your dog. This allows you to insure your dog regardless of its breed and level of aggression. It can also provide you with exactly the coverage your dog needs.

Dog owners should be able to enjoy their pets without worrying about losing money due to the physical injuries dogs can cause. Getting liability dog insurance can give you peace of mind while protecting your dog and those it interacts with.

Dealing with Dog Bite Insurance Claims

Dog owners face some serious concerns when their pet makes a mistake and bites someone. Without pet insurance, available with some homeowners’ policies, or as a standalone product, things can get really expensive. In most dog bite cases, the injured parties will file dog bite insurance claims with the pet owner’s company.

Once this is submitted, as the pet’s owner you will receive a telephone call from your agent wanting specific details about the incident. You should make a list of the things you’ll likely be asked along with any questions you may have. At any rate, be prepared to discuss the incident to the best of your ability.

Prevention is worth a pound of cure

Before we get to litigation, you should ask yourself, what you could have been done to prevent this in the first place? Did this occur on your property, while walking the animal, or at the dog park? Was your pet properly restrained? Was the dog antagonized? For example, was a child hitting him, or did someone throw something at the animal that set him off? Acts of this nature could actually work in your favor provided you have proof or witnesses.

In order to prevent your dog from biting someone the animal needs to be properly trained. A professional can be hired to do this or you can take it upon yourself to teach the dog how to act and react under different circumstances. When at home, it’s important to lay down rules for how guests behave around the dog, especially when it is sleeping, eating, injured, or caring for newborn pups.

Different dogs respond to stimulation in different ways. Some dogs are aggressive, others extremely playful, but this can also result in biting when over-stimulated. You should know your pet well enough to determine whether or not the situation requires additional restraints. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Remember that once your dog does bite someone the amount of compensation can be greatly increased due to medical bills, lost income as a result of not being able to work due to any injuries, pain and suffering, etc. This is why pet insurance is such an important product for you to have, since dog bite insurance claims can be both costly and time consuming.

Reduce the Cost of Dog Bite Liability Coverage

So you succumbed to the cuteness… and you couldn’t resist the recent “Clear the Shelters” event, where the local animal shelters were greatly reducing or even waiving their fees in an attempt to get every orphaned animal a forever home. That ‘doggy in the window’ was only $15 bucks, and between that, the pleading brown puppy eyes, and the sweet furry face (not to mention the acute begging and pleading campaign launched by the kids over the past two weeks), you brought home Skipper, a six-month-old German shepherd. Now you’re shopping for all kinds of accessories, but make sure your shopping list includes dog liability insurance quotes. After all, consider that approximately $413 million in claims was spent on paying for bite-related situations, with the injured party receiving an average of more than $26,000-and these amounts have increased by nearly 37 percent in the past decade.

What can help your rates (or hurt them)

This coverage can become your best friend, Skipper notwithstanding, protecting you from financial responsibility in the event your pet injures someone. Consider that rates could be lower based on:

The type of dog you have. Sorry, Skippy-but German Shepherds (as well as Chow Chows, Malamutes, American Pit Bulls, and Doberman Pinschers) are among the breeds considered by insurance companies to be more likely to cause an injury, and thus coverage may cost more.

A prior history. If the animal you select is known to have bitten someone before, the policy to protect you from liability could be higher.

Good breeding, quite literally, is a factor-the dog’s, not yours. In some cases, premiums could be higher if a dog has been bred without the proper training. In some cases, an insurer may require that you take the pet to obedience training before agreeing to offer coverage.

What to do next?

For starters, lay in a good quantity of wee-wee pads until you get the housebreaking down pat. Then, call your professional insurance agent to learn more about dog liability insurance quotes. Your agent can access the leading providers of this type of protection and offer guidance on what companies offer you the most comprehensive coverage for the best premium. Call your agent today.

Legal Concerns and Dog Bite Quote Solutions

Dog owners not only need to understand local laws pertaining to their responsibilities if someone becomes an unfortunate victim of their dog, they also need to get a Dog Bite Quote for insurance to help pay legal and medical costs. It can help greatly if they can prove the animal was provoked in any way. For example, if your dog bites a child in response to constant teasing and/or cruelty by that young person, the dog’s owner may be able to gain a better legal position by notifying the parents that he or she had actually observed the teasing or cruelty taking place.

This notification should be made both verbally and in writing by mail (certified mail is recommended), and the owner should also keep a record of any and all events. If the actions are serious enough (i.e. rocks tossed or thrown, hitting the dog with a stick, etc.), those incidents should be reported to the local authorities and/or animal control department as well as humane organizations. It will help in establishing a legal defense by documenting acts of animal cruelty, for which the law could mandate psychological treatment or possibly jail for the offender.

Ways to help your pet avoid aggressive behavior

There are several ways to stem the tide of bad behavior, especially for normally aggressive dogs:

  • Enrolling your dog in obedience classes
  • Neutering male dogs can significantly reduce dominance problems and some other forms of aggression
  • Make sure your dog gets lots of appropriate exercise
  • Keep dogs on a leash or physically fenced area when outside
  • Never leave young children alone with a dog, and
  • Teach children (and adults) how to behave around animals

Inform houseguests that they shouldn’t disturb your dog while sleeping or eating. Don’t tease, yell, or make sudden movements around dogs. Children (and adults) acting nervous around an animal often send off a message that most animals can pick up or sense.

If you are not confident around strangers, do not walk your dog near strangers. Also, demonstrate what it means to be a responsible dog owner. Being an irresponsible dog owner can lead to circumstances that can be detrimental to both you and your pet. If you need to purchase insurance we suggest you get a Dog Bite Quote as soon as possible.

Biting Fleas and Ticks Can Encourage Dogs to Do the Same

It’s official: the warm weather has arrived, which means that the flea and tick season is starting to heat up as well. These pesky little critters can not only make your pet’s life miserable as she bites and scratches in vain to get some relief, the pain can even cause her to be more likely to lash out at a stranger or even a friend who attempts to stroke her when she’s feeling attacked-and the resulting dog bite liabilities can have you as the pet owner feeling attacked.

The difference between them

Fleas are wingless insects with six legs. They can jump incredibly far. They live on your pet for their lifetime (adult fleas can live for about 100 days), laying from 20-40 eggs per day (which are deposited randomly throughout your home as your pet roams), until they die. Only adult fleas feed on the host which, in this case, is your miserable pooch. While they are on board, they can transmit diseases such as bartonellosis and tapeworms, making your pet ill.

In contrast, ticks are of the arachnid family, closely related to spiders, and in most stages of development have eight legs. Unlike fleas, they don’t rely on warm weather to thrive; these parasites are hardier and harder to kill, and can survive in even near-freezing conditions. They can live a few weeks up to three years, laying thousands of eggs all at one time, after which they die. In the meantime, though, they wreak havoc on your pet, and can cause illnesses such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can be fatal.

Just as humans who are normally docile can become snappish and aggressive when they are suffering from an illness, pets’ personalities can undergo a similar transformation. Carrie found this out when her beagle, normally playful and loving, came home after a hike. The pooch scratched itself raw, then chewed mercilessly on its hindquarters until it drew blood, and became withdrawn and unresponsive to Carrie’s ministrations-even attempting to bite her (albeit halfheartedly) when she tried to apply some ointment on the affected area. A trip to the vet revealed ticks had attached themselves near the tail, despite the topical pesticide Carrie had applied to her pet.

The vet removed the ticks carefully, treated Carrie’s beagle with a more effective pesticide and sent them on their way; the pair lived to hike another day. The point is, any pet’s gentle disposition can be transformed by pain and a dog bite can be sustained even by an owner, let alone someone who is unfamiliar to the animal. Talk to a professional insurance agent about obtaining coverage for the dog bite liabilities that are part and parcel of owning a pooch, and consult your vet to determine the best way to protect your pet from fleas and ticks.

Dog Bite Liabilities and Spaying or Neutering Your Pets

The debate rages over whether spaying and neutering pets is the best solution to pet overpopulation and euthanasia, but these are both a continuing problem in the US and the many other parts of the world that needs to be addressed. Many experts feel that it is the duty of pet owners, and society as a whole, to be part of the solution to a situation that can have some serious consequences due to so many homeless animals running the streets.

Spaying or neutering your dog is an important part of being responsible pet owners. Unneutered male dogs that are not able to mate experience frustration, and dog bite liabilities are often the result of their anxieties.

A USA Today article from May 7, 2013 cited that pets who live in the US with the highest rates of spaying and/or neutering also tend to live the longest. According to that report, neutered male dogs, on average, live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than un-spayed female dogs. Another positive aspect to consider in addition to the increased longevity of altered pets is the reduced risk that many of the animals face with regards to certain types of cancers.

Unaltered pets often show patterns of misbehavior

While the types of problem behaviors exhibited by unaltered pets may vary between species and genders, these issues should factor into your decision. For example, dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered often tend to be more hyperactive and display behavioral problems (i.e. gnawing on household items and chewing through fences), as well as running away, and not bonding with family members or other pets. But perhaps the biggest issue in intact males is their unprovoked aggression and biting. Statistically, unneutered male dogs are responsible for over 90% of reported bites, with children being 60% of those that are bitten.

Altered pets display a much calmer disposition

Both male and female dogs are all less likely to bite, fight, roam, or cause accidents in which people or other pets get hurt. Spayed and neutered pets also generally bond better with people, are less destructive and aggressive, and make better pets since their focus is no longer on breeding.

Pet owners can certainly benefit from the reduced dog bite liabilities associated with spayed and neutered pets. Speak to an insurer about any insurance benefits associated with having this procedure done.

Strays and Fights Can Result in Bites

You have a furry, four-legged member of the family named Fido. What you also have are Florida dog bite liabilities, simply because if a dog-any dog, for that matter-has teeth, it has the potential to bite, say animal control experts. However, some instances are more likely to result in an injury-so be forewarned and thus ready to avoid a problem before it starts.

Strays on the loose

One animal control professional says that oftentimes, these painful situations occur when stray animals break loose after being tied up in a yard. Often these pets are confined regularly for days or longer, and are thus isolated from normal interactions with other people. If so, experts say these dogs are three times more likely to bite than their counterparts that are socialized to mix with and accept people and other animals.

When a fight breaks out

Owners who witness their pets fighting with other animals understandably want to halt the conflict; in some cases, they rush right into the fray (acting with their heart more than their head). Of course, this tactic is very likely to end up badly for the human, if not the dog-as one woman named Krista found out. She saw her cocker spaniel, George, being attacked by a large dog owned by a neighbor a few doors down and immediately rushed to its aid; in the process, she was bitten on the hand and needed 10 stitches to close the gaping wound, and may have lasting nerve damage as well. In this case, experts say the neighbor’s dog simply redirected its aggression from its opponent to the person or object that is interceding. Now the aggression has been redirected yet again-this time, to the owner of the dog that attacked Krista’s pet. She’s suing for damages, having sustained extensive veterinary bills and thousands of dollars in medical fees for her own care.

Understanding and Adhering to the Florida Dog Bite Law

Any victim of a dog bite in the state of Florida can recover compensation under a special statute, known as the Florida dog bite law. Different states have different ordinances related to the ownership and care of animals, as well as the rights of the victim when a dog bites them. Dog owners should be aware of these laws in order to protect themselves and their pets.

There are homeowner insurance policies that contain coverage for people who have pets living in their homes. This coverage may or may not be sufficient for all concerns related to injuries sustained or caused by pets. Purchasing dog bite insurance is advisable for pet owners who are worried that their pet has a propensity for biting people, especially those owners of the breeds of dogs that are more difficult to insure.

Negligence is a primary ground for liability in Florida

Negligence is considered the lack of ordinary care; that is, the absence of the kind of care a reasonably prudent and careful person would exercise in similar circumstances. For example, if a person’s conduct in a given circumstance doesn’t measure up to the conduct one might expect given the situation, then that person could be deemed negligent. For example, letting dog run around without a leash that has a history of biting is being negligent.

Negligence per se” is a doctrine that can help a victim recover compensation if the bite happened because the dog owner violated a statute, ordinance or regulation that has been enacted for people’s safety. Examples include a violation of a leash law, a law prohibiting dogs from being at large, or a law prohibiting dogs from trespassing. The owner will be held liable in each instance if the animal, provoked or not, attacks, resulting in the victim being bitten.

Dog owners have a responsibility for ensuring the safety of anyone who might come into contact with their pets. Statistics show that small children and elderly people are more often the targets of dog attacks. Florida is a statutory strict liability state. The Florida dog bite law will compensate anyone who is a dog bite victim, which means that they can recover damages pursuant to the dog bite statute.


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Dog Attacks and the Potential for a Dog Bite Lawsuit

An estimated 800,000 people in the US are injured by dog bites, many of who are children and require medical attention. Sadly, in severe instances, sometimes the attack even results in death. Pet owners are legally responsible for the behavior of their dogs, and friends or loved ones are generally the victims of a dog bite injury.


In most cases involving an attack and subsequent dog bite, the dog’s owner will be required to pay for the injury, including any scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and all medical bills and lost wages associated with the attack.


Most states have statutes making it difficult for dog owners to avoid liability for injuries resulting in a dog bite lawsuit. Sometimes a person harboring the dog, often called the boarder or keeper, may also be held responsible.


Dog bite prevention


Because dog bites can result in serious injury, owners should invest the necessary time and money to properly train their pets in order to try and prevent an unwarranted attack.

Positive reinforcement dog training is a method of training that rewards good behavior rather than punishing inappropriate behavior. Punishment can be a useful form of training for some breeds.


A dog growls as a warning signal when they are uncomfortable with a person or situation. Preventing them from growling means stifling their ability to communicate their discomfort and the possibility that they may be ready to bite. A professional dog trainer can help a dog owner in managing their dog’s aggression to ensure the safety of those coming into contact with the animal.


Liability resulting from common dog bite injuries


The owner’s liability will often be determined based on their previous knowledge of the dog’s tendency towards aggression. This includes breed knowledge, training techniques, and any prior aggressive behavior. The most common injuries associated with dog bites are:


  • Skin lacerations


  • Puncture wounds


  • Crushed or broken bones


  • Infections from rabies and other diseases the dog may carry


  • Loss of tissue


  • Nerve damage resulting from a bite to the face, and


  • Emotional scarring


Scars, infections, and even broken bones can be a serious, life-long result of a dog bite. Because they are smaller in size, children are particularly susceptible to bites around the head and face and often suffer disfiguring scarring. Scars also cause emotional injuries and lingering fears. Scars may require plastic surgery, which adds to the expenses that the pet’s owner will incur during a dog bite lawsuit, which is why dog bite insurance is vital to anyone who owns a pet.


photo credit: Viola’s visions cc