You have just rescued a great dog, and you’re so happy with him, you’ve tweeted to all your friends and let everyone see how cute he is with pictures on Facebook. Guess who else you should let know about your new family member? Your insurance company. Why? To be sure you are protected and covered in case man’s best friend suddenly takes a bite out of a visitor.
In a recent article in Westways Magazine, author Robin Jones covers this subject for AAA insurance. The story of the Lewis Family is an example of why it is so important to inform your insurance company any time you add Fido to the family. Their small Dachshund got overly excited while greeting the mailman, and it resulted in a small bite, which had to be reported, according to postal regulations. While the Lewis’ insurance company did cover the claim, they soon were canceled. To find a new insurance company to cover them for homeowner’s insurance was difficult, and eventually cost them twice what they formerly paid.
How can you avoid this happening to you? First, make sure that your insurance covers dog bites in your homeowner’s policy. This liability coverage will take care of the medical costs of the person who was injured by your pet, plus any time off they may have to take because of the injuries suffered. Generally, this type of coverage would extend to injuries suffered off your property.
AAA recommends that you inform your insurance carrier of any changes in pets, also. If you get a new dog, make sure that your insurance company is aware of the new addition. If you are not covered by insurance, the result can be quite costly. It is recommended that you review your policy annually to make sure that all coverages are in order.
A dog owner falls under California’s Dog Bite Law (California Civil Code § 3342) which states that “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner.”
Being a responsible pet owner is important for the safety and welfare of the public, as well as your own peace of mind and financial liability. Making sure your insurance is proper and in order will help to avoid terrible consequences in case Fido decides to take a bite out of a friend, or a foe.