My dog just escaped and bit someone, do I have insurance coverage?

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My dog just escaped and bit someone, do I have insurance coverage?

At jan jesberger insurance, we love our dogs, we have 3 dogs who spend time with their people at work weekly.We also understand that some dogs bite.Even if we don’t think that our dogs would bite, it happens all too often; like a child who tries to play with a dog and gets bit, a dog who escapes their yard and bites someone or another scenario is when a dog escapes, and causes a person to crash on their bike. All are examples of claims we have seen at jji. Having protection against this liability is essential for the dog owner’s protection, but also to make the person who was hurt,, whole again.

You probably don’t think your dog would ever bite someone, let alone cause a serious injury. But dog bites are more common than you might realize—4.5 million occur every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most victims are young children.

Those injuries also have a bigger impact on homeowners and renters insurance than you might realize. The Insurance Information Institute says dog-related claims accounted for more than $600 million in insurance payments in 2016.

With those numbers in mind, it’s understandable that insurance carriers want to know if you’ve got a dog in your household. Some even will refuse to insure you if you have a specific breed with a reputation for aggressive behavior, regardless of whether your dog has ever bitten someone.

You need to disclose any dogs that you own, if you hide the fact that you have a dog and that dog causes an injury, your coverage could be invalidated-leaving you liable for potentially tens of thousands of dollars, or more. We had a claim when a child put her face to close to a new pup, and had her ear bitten completely on accident.The claim paid more than $150,000. Imagine if you were responsible for these bills.

When a Bite or Accident Happens

Your insurance company knows about your dog, do you need to let them know if the dog bites or injures someone?

That depends. If it’s a minor incident, you might consider paying out of pocket for any medical expenses to avoid the claims process and a potential increase in your premiums. (In some instances, insurance companies will not renew your policy or will exclude your dog from coverage after paying for a dog-related claim.)

However, this might violate your policy, which probably requires you to report changes in your circumstances. If you don’t report a bite, and the dog then bites someone else later, the insurance company might deny you liability coverage for the second incident. If you have a question, please call us at 208-762-2122, or email Jan at

Another risk is the threat of future claims from the victim. Injuries aren’t always immediately apparent, and complications can arise later. The victim might decide down the road to sue you. And if you’ve waited too long to report the incident to your insurance company, it might be too late to make a claim and receive all the protection your policy was meant to provide—which can include help with attorney fees, medical bills and more.

A $33,000 Mistake?

Ask yourself this: How would your budget look if you had an unexpected $33,000 expense? The average claim payment for a dog injury in 2016 was about that amount. And that’s with an insurance company working on behalf of the insured. If you’re on your own, you could wind up paying even more—a lot more.

The Best Bet

Call us, whether you are a homeowner or a renter, call us.We are your advocates. We will guide you through the process, and help you make the correct decisions for your situation, Remember, we are licensed in Idaho, Washington, Montana, Arizona, and California.Would it not be nice, that if you have aquestion or concern, you know that the person on the other end has your interests in mind, and will provide unbiased expert consul?