What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone: Navigating Homeowners Insurance Coverage

In recent years, as a result of the COVID pandemic, more and more personal financial planning clients have added a canine to their household. Dog ownership brings immense joy, as well as companionship. BUT it also entails responsibilities, including ensuring the safety of others. I am writing this post because of a distressing series of events that occurred with a personal financial planning client.

The client’s dog bit someone who entered their property unannounced. The insurance agent (not broker) told the client to attempt to settle the claim themselves without the intervention of the insurance company. This is flat out wrong on so many levels and potentially criminal activity on the part of the insurance agent – welcome to the world of personal financial planning.

Dog bites do occur, and can lead to potential legal and financial ramifications. In such situations, homeowners insurance can provide coverage for liability claims arising from dog bites, that is unless the insurance agent tells you to settle the claim yourself which could void coverage. This blog outlines the steps to take if your dog bites someone and how homeowners insurance can help mitigate the consequences.

Ensure Safety and Seek Medical Attention:

• Immediately separate your dog from the victim and ensure their safety.

• Promptly assist the victim in seeking medical attention, regardless of the severity   of the bite.

Exchange Information:

• Obtain the contact information of the victim, including their name, address, and phone number.

• Provide your contact information and any relevant details about your dog, including its breed and vaccination status.

Report the Incident to Your Insurance Company:

• Contact your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible to report the incident.

• Provide a detailed account of the incident and any information requested by the insurance company.

Cooperate with the Claims Process:

• Work closely with your insurance company throughout the claims process.

• Provide any documentation or evidence requested by the insurance adjuster, such as medical bills or witness statements.

Understand Your Coverage:

• Review your homeowners insurance policy to understand your coverage for dog bite liability.

• Be aware of any policy limits or exclusions that may affect your coverage.

Prevent Future Incidents:

• Take proactive measures to prevent future dog bite incidents, such as obedience training and proper containment of your dog.

• Communicate with your insurance company about any steps you’ve taken to reduce the risk of future incidents.

Experiencing a dog bite incident can be distressing for both the victim and the dog owner. However, homeowners insurance can provide financial protection and assistance in such situations. By following the steps outlined above and working closely with your insurance company, you can navigate the aftermath of a dog bite incident more effectively. Additionally, taking proactive measures to prevent future incidents can help mitigate the risk of liability and ensure the safety of others in your community.

Risk management directly impacts an individual’s personal financial plan. At Paraklete® Financial we work with Insurance agents and brokers as part of our client’s collaborative team of advisers. The collaborative team is essential to the personal financial planning process. For more information, please visit us at https://www.parakletefinancial.com 

The views expressed are those of the author as of the date noted, are subject to change based on market and other various conditions. Material discussed is meant to provide general information and it is not to be construed as specific investment, tax or legal advice. Keep in mind that current and historical facts may not be indicative of future results. The information contained in our presentations have been compiled from third party sources and is believed to be reliable; however, accuracy is not guaranteed.

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