As a dog owner or animal welfare organization you are potentially responsible if a dog harms another person, another animal, or any type of property. There are approximately 4.5 million dog bite victims each year and around 850,000 require some kind of medical attention. The most serious cases often involve children. About 35 attacks a year are fatal. Depending on the severity of the incident, victim’s settlements can reach 100,000 dollars or more. It is vital for all dog owners to have dog bite insurance.

Laws vary by state and locality, but in most states the dog owner is liable just for owning a dog that bites someone regardless of whether or not the dog has been shown to be aggressive in the past. Some states require proof of negligence or that the dog is vicious, but these states are in the minority. Also many dogs are considered to be vicious simply because of their breed.

Many homeowners insurance or renters’ insurance policies exclude accidents caused by dogs. Some insurance companies refuse to cover certain canine breeds or may cap payouts. This can leave the dog owner liable for any and all damages. Fortunately, there are other options available when it comes to dog bite insurance. If your insurance policy does cover canine related damages or limits its coverage, it is recommended that you get a supplemental policy specific for dog liability.

Dogs are great pets for a lot of families in the United States. One thing to consider; however, if you plan to get a dog as a pet, is choosing the right breed of dog for you and your family. Once you’ve chosen a breed of dog, you will want to add, or inquire about “dog bite insurance,” with your insurance carrier. Especially if you adopt a dog that many homeowners insurance companies deem to be dangerous and exclude from your insurance policy.

There are many breeds of dogs to choose from, and like humans; each dog will have his own personality. Each breed has specific traits that are common to see throughout the entire breed. It is these traits that need to be studied before making a decision on which breed of dog you want to bring into your home, and before you take out a dog bite insurance policy.

A list of the top 5, most notable dog breeds known for being excluded from homeowner’s insurance policies are:

  • Pit Bulls – One of the most beloved dogs also has the worst reputation with insurance carriers.  Some states, like Maryland are now requiring all Pit Bull owners to carry dog bite insurance.
  • Rottweiler’s — Commonly used as guard dogs because of their aggressive nature; Rottweilers can also be used for other duties; such as, search and rescue, guide dogs for the blind, and police dogs.
  • German Shepherds — German Shepherds have strong jaws. If trained well, they can be good dogs that are obedient and protect the family.
  • Doberman Pinschers — Dobermans are strong, muscular dogs with a lot of energy. They have been used as guard dogs for many years because they’re strong and fearless.
  • Boxers — Boxers are generally good-natured. They make good family pets; however, they are protective, and they are strong.

Any dog or beloved pet has the potential to bite, if they are put in situations that cause fear.  Protect yourself and your family today by being proactive and check with your homeowner’s insurance agent to see if there are any dog exclusions on your insurance policy.  If there are, contact an agent that specializes in providing insurance protection for all dogs.