Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites?

5970517383_79dd9d74b9_bAccording to the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), approximately one-third of all dog bites occur at dog owners’ homes.  Almost 30 per cent of dog attacks involve children between the ages of 5 and 9, and over 40 per cent of attacks result in injuries to the face.

To prevent dog bites, some communities around Canada have banned certain breeds that are perceived to be more dangerous or have a track record of violence.  These laws most commonly apply to pit bulls, Rottweilers and Presa Canarios.

Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bites.  However, if you own a breed that has been historically violent, you may have to pay an increased premium (even if your dog has not displayed any violent behaviour).  If your dog has passed obedience school tests, you may qualify for a premium discount.

It is difficult to determine how a dog’s breed will predict its disposition, much like it is hard to predict how nature versus nurture plays a role in the development of a child.  Watch your dog’s behaviours: growling, snapping, biting family members, aggression towards strangers or showing signs of extreme fear.   Your vet can refer you to a veterinary behaviour specialist.  While the dog is going through treatment, be extra cautious when you take it out in public, and consider placing a basket muzzle over the dog’s mouth.

No dog breed is guaranteed to be attack- or bite-free.  Let Scrivens educate you on your insurance needs to protect you from a costly dog bite lawsuit.


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