Your dog is a beloved member of your family, but are you protected against the liability owning a dog brings? Dog liability insurance can bring you peace of mind and financial security. Even the most well-behaved and gentle dogs can occasionally act unpredictably. In such moments, the unthinkable might happen, whether that’s a dog bite or injury to another person or damage to someone’s property. These unexpected events have not only emotional but also financial repercussions.
In the state of Utah, the owner of a dog is liable for injuries or damage caused by their dog, whether or not the dog has a history of aggression. This means that should your sweet furry friend injure someone, you are liable for their injuries and any property damage caused. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re covered.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what dog liability insurance is, why it’s essential, and what can happen if you choose not to purchase a policy. Whether you’re a long-time dog owner or considering bringing home a four-legged friend, understanding the benefits of dog bite insurance is a crucial step to ensuring a safe and secure home for your pet and family.
If you live in Utah and need a dog bite lawyer, we can help. We’ll give you a free consultation no matter where you live in the state. Click the button below to get your free consultation or call us at (435) 752-3551.
Dog Liability Insurance
With so many beautiful outdoor locations–from the hiking trails of Big Cottonwood Canyon to the slopes of Park City–Utahns love bringing their dogs with them on adventures. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Even the most gentle dogs can become reactionary in certain circumstances. While many dog owners have coverage for their dogs under homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, it might not be enough.
That’s where dog liability insurance, also known as pet liability insurance, comes in. This type of insurance coverage is designed to protect dog owners in case their dog injures someone or damages their property.
Here are some of the key aspects of dog bite insurance:
- Coverage: Dog liability insurance provides coverage for incidents involving your dog, such as dog bites, scratches, or injuries caused by your dog. It can also cover property damage caused by your dog, like damaging someone’s belongings or injuring another person’s pet.
- Medical expenses: It typically includes coverage for medical expenses incurred by the injured party, including hospital bills, doctor’s fees, and related medical costs.
- Legal protection: In the event of a lawsuit from a dog-related incident, the insurance can cover your legal fees and expenses of defending yourself in court.
- No-fault coverage: Many policies offer coverage without determining who is at fault. This means it can provide protection even if your dog’s actions were unintentional or unexpected.
- Customizable: Many policies allow dog owners to customize their coverage to suit their needs and budget. You can typically choose the coverage limits that you feel comfortable with. Policies often start at $25,000 and go up to $500,000 of coverage.
- Separate from homeowner’s insurance: Dog liability insurance is distinct from your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. A dog bite claim won’t affect your homeowner’s insurance rates or coverage.
- Not health insurance: Another distinction is that pet liability insurance is different from pet health insurance. This coverage is focused solely on compensating a third, injured party for the losses caused by your dog.
Things To Look For
While your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance might cover your pet, some policies have a much lower limit when it comes to dog bite injuries. Buying a dedicated pet liability insurance policy can ensure you’re fully protected. You can purchase a policy from a number of sources, including traditional insurance providers or specialized pet insurance providers. You’ll want to find a company that offers coverage in the state of Utah.
When considering where to buy dog liability insurance, it’s essential to do the following:
- Compare policies and coverage limits to ensure they meet your needs.
- Consider your dog’s breed, as some providers have restrictions or premium differences based on breed.
- Understand the terms and conditions of the policy, including any exclusions or waiting periods.
- Obtain and compare quotes from different providers to find the best coverage at a reasonable price.
The availability and terms of dog liability insurance can vary, so it’s important to conduct thorough research to find the right policy for your needs.
Benefits of Dog Liability Insurance
For pet owners in the Beehive State, there’s no law requiring the purchase of dog bite insurance. However, because of Utah’s strict liability statute, it’s often a good idea to seek protection. Dog bite insurance provides financial protection and peace of mind in case of unforeseen incidents. Here are the key benefits of pet liability insurance for your dog:
- Financial protection: One of the main benefits of dog liability insurance is financial protection. If your dog injures a third party or damages someone else’s property, the insurance will cover the costs of medical bills, property damage, and compensation. This can save you thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.
- Liability coverage: Dog liability insurance provides liability coverage specifically for incidents involving your dog. This means it won’t affect your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, and you won’t risk losing coverage for other aspects of your life.
- Peace of mind: Having a dog bite insurance policy can provide you with peace of mind. You can enjoy your time with your pet without constant worry about potential financial consequences if an accident were to happen.
- Legal protection: In the event of a lawsuit related to a dog bite or injury, dog liability insurance typically includes defense coverage so you can hire a lawyer to defend yourself in court.
- Breed considerations: Certain dog breeds, like pit bulls, rottweilers, great danes, huskies, and akitas, among others, are considered higher risk due to their reputation for aggression. Many home homeowner’s or renter’s insurances won’t cover these breeds. Dog liability insurance can be especially beneficial for owners of these breeds, as it can be hard to purchase coverage for them through traditional insurance.
- Rentals: In some cases, landlords might require pet liability insurance before allowing you to bring certain breeds on the property you’re renting. Having dog bite insurance can make it easier to rent a home while owning a dog.
How much does pet liability insurance cost? The answer depends on your state, the insurance company, the amount of coverage you’re looking for, the breed you own, and the dog’s history. You’ll want to seek a quote before signing up for coverage. On average, dog bite insurance will cost between $15 to $30 per month. This is nothing compared to what a dog bite claim might cost. According to Forbes, the average settlement in 2022 was $64,555, but a severe dog bite accident could far exceed that amount.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Have Dog Liability Insurance
If you don’t have dog liability insurance and your dog injures someone, you might face several potential consequences, including:
- Personal financial responsibility: Without insurance, you would be personally responsible for covering the costs of the injury or property damage. This can include medical bills, legal fees, and compensation to the injured party. Some dog attacks can be severe, and these costs can be substantial.
- Legal troubles: If your dog bites or injures someone, you may be at risk of a lawsuit. In Utah, the injured party has up to four years to initiate a lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. You would have to defend yourself in court, incurring legal expenses and potentially being required to pay damages if you lose.
- Difficulty renting: If you rent your home, landlords may be hesitant to let you keep your dog on their property without liability insurance. This is especially true for breeds considered to be aggressive.
- Emotional stress: Dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite incident, whether it’s legal issues or medical bills can be emotionally distressing. Having dog liability insurance provides you peace of mind and reduces stress in such situations.
While it might be tempting to assume your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy is enough, not having pet liability insurance can leave you financially vulnerable. If you have a more aggressive breed, are looking to rent, or simply want peace of mind, a dog bite insurance policy can protect you in case of the unexpected.
Dog Bite Representation in Utah
Whether or not you have dog liability insurance, if your dog attacks, you might find yourself faced with a lawsuit. If you’re in need of a Utah dog bite attorney, the lawyers of Harris, Preston, & Chambers can help. With decades of experience, we can represent you to give you the best possible outcome for your case. Whether you’re the injured party or the defendant, let us take on the burden of your case.
*Nothing herein constitutes legal advice. You should obtain independent legal counsel regarding your specific factual situation.