homeowners insurance can cover dog bites

What you thought would be a pleasant walk in the park with your pup can turn nasty if your 4-legged friend decides to bite a passerby. Thankfully, homeowners insurance can come to your aid with coverage for both medical and legal expenses related to dog bites — so everyone can get back to wagging their tails in no time.

home insurance and dog attacks: what’s covered?

For many people, a house isn't a home without a dog. In fact, up to 47 percent of U.S. households have a pooch to call their own.

But dog ownership brings with it some pretty big responsibilities — especially if your pup bites someone or attacks another dog.

What if I get sued over a dog bite?

Let's say you have a friend over who happens to love playing with your pup. Or maybe you arranged a play date with a friend's dog and yours at your place. Next thing you know, things get a little too rowdy and your dog bites your guest or your guest's dog. It can happen to anyone — but you didn't expect your guest to sue for damages. What now?

Luckily, your homeowners insurance could help cover your liability when it comes to bite-related lawsuits (up to the limit you choose for this coverage on your policy). Family liability protection is designed to help cover your legal liability for unintentional injury or property damage that you're responsible for, and can also help pay for your legal defense if you're sued.

And your coverage doesn't stop at your doorstep — if your pooch bites while you're out for an evening stroll or at the dog park, you can still count on your homeowners coverage. At Esurance, the default limit for family liability protection is $100,000, but you can always opt for higher coverage to ensure all your investments and assets are financially safeguarded in the event of a lawsuit.

Is your pooch covered? Get a free quote today.

What about bite-related medical bills?

Let's say your guest doesn't want to sue over their bite-related medical expenses (phew!), but they still want their hospital bills to be covered. That's where guest medical protection can step in to help pay medical expenses up to the limits you choose on your homeowners policy. At Esurance, we offer coverage up to $5,000.

Keep in mind that guest medical protection applies to humans only — so it won't cover the cost of vet bills related to your dog biting another animal. However, carrying sufficient liability coverage could help pay for bite-related injuries (to other dogs or humans) that your pup is responsible for.

If you're already an Esurance policyholder and have questions about your policy (including which dogs may be excluded on your home insurance), give us a ring at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our licensed agents are available at these times to offer help and answer your questions.

safety tips: stopping bites before they happen

Of course, the best way to avoid being the subject of a dog bite-related claim is preventing your dog from biting someone in the first place. Here are a few pointers for reducing the risks.

Keep a safe distance

You never know what may cause your dog to feel provoked or threatened, so it's best to keep them leashed and at a safe distance from strangers (humans and dogs alike).

Encourage an introduction

Make sure new people extend a hand and let your pup give them a good sniff before they go in for the belly rub.

Don't encourage your pup to play aggressively

Dogs often don't realize their own strength, so it's wise to train your pooch to play gently with humans and other dogs to avoid things getting out of hand.

Know when your dog needs alone time

If Spot's snoozing, let others know to leave him be. No one likes being woken up abruptly, and unfortunately, it can sometimes cause a dog to bite. Dogs can be defensive when eating or caring for their young, too, so don't allow interaction in these instances either.

Be on guard with kids and dogs

Be wary of letting kids play unsupervised around your dog. What a child may think is a playful pull of the tail, the dog might see as a sign of aggression (or it might just really hurt) and they could react by biting to defend themselves. Always keep a watchful eye over playtime involving dogs.

get dependable protection for your personal liability and much more with esurance homeowners insurance

It simply isn't worth it to compromise such a hard-earned investment as your home over something like a dog bite, which is all the more reason to safeguard what matters most to you with family liability protection on your homeowners insurance policy.

How to pet-proof your home
Take a peek at these helpful tips for making your home safer for your furry family members.

How pets affect your homeowners insurance
Learn more about how your 4-legged friends can affect what you pay for home coverage.

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