Can an insurance company deny a claim related to a dog bite?

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Insurance Disputes

Homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance covers someone’s possessions if there is a natural disaster and also helps protect them from liability. When you go visit a friend, their renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy will pay for your medical costs if you fall down their stairs and break your leg. 

In theory, you should also be able to rely on insurance to cover your costs when a dog attacks you at someone’s home or in a place of business. Unfortunately, some victims of vicious dogs find their claims denied even though the dog’s owner has an active insurance policy. 

Why would an insurance company try to deny a basic dog bite claim?

The owner didn’t disclose the animal or its breed

Having a dog in the house absolutely increases the liability for the family. Dog bite attacks can lead to tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical needs in a few seconds. 

Just like the insurance company needs to know about the size and condition of the property before underwriting a policy, they also have to know about the occupants, including any animals. If the homeowner or renter didn’t tell the insurance company they had a dog; then they may refuse to cover injuries caused by the animal. 

The same could be true if the dog is on the company’s list of restricted breeds. Commonly restricted dog breeds include German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, wolf hybrids, pit bulls, Rottweilers, Cane Corsos and Chow Chows. Learning more about your rights and reviewing the insurance policy of the animal’s owner can help you respond after a dog attacks you or a member of your family.

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