Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Dog Bites In California?

Yes.  Most homeowner's or renter's insurance policy will cover the damages associated with a dog-bite claim.  In fact, dog bites are the most commonly pursued claim under a homeowner's and renter's insurance policy. [1] 

California's dog bite law is a strict liability statute that provides compensation for victims who are bitten on public property or lawfully on private property (not trespassing).   The insurance policy covers dog-bite victim's injuries up to the limit of liability.  If the amount of damages is more than the liability limit, the dog owner is responsible for the excess not covered under the policy. [2]

Below, our California personal injury attorneys address common questions insurance payouts for dog-bites. 

Insurance policies

 

1. Does homeowner's insurance cover dog bites in California?

Yes.  The dog owner's homeowner's or renter's insurance policy will pay for the victim's injuries and damages.  In fact, approximately one-third (1/3) of all homeowner insurance claims filed and paid out in 2016 were for dog bites and other dog-related injuries.  California has the largest number of claims in the United States at 1,934 in 2016. [3] The liability limits for a dog-bite claim can range from $100,000.00 to $300,000.00.

Whether the insurance company will cover an attack that is off the owner's property depends on the policy language.  Generally, the general liability provision covers dog bite incidents that occur off the dog owner's property, but you should check your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy to be certain. 

2. Do some insurance companies exclude coverage for "aggressive" dog breeds? 

Yes.  Some companies exclude liability coverage for dogs of certain breeds.  Dog breeds that are often subject to restrictions include:

  • Pit bulls,
  • Staffordshire terriers,
  • Dobermans,
  • German Shepherds,
  • Chows,
  • Akitas,
  • Alaskan Malamutes,
  • Siberian Huskies, and
  • Wolf hybrids.

Additionally, some insurers might limit the number of dog bite claims they will pay and/or the amount they will pay for dog bite injuries.  

3. What if the dog owner does not carry homeowner's or renter's insurance? 

If the owner does not have a renter's or homeowner's insurance policy, or the policy limits do not cover the cost of the damages, the dog-bite victim can sue the owner directly his or her injuries.  However, even if you get a judgment in your favor, the payout is not guaranteed if the dog owner is judgment proof or has zero assets.  

Have you or a loved one been bitten by a dog? 

Contact our experienced dog-bite attorneys for a free consultation. 

Call us at (855) JUSTICE to discuss your case in confidence with an experienced California injury lawyer.

We have offices throughout California, including in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, San Diego and Riverside Counties, as well as Central and Northern California.

Related Topics:

  1. Does California’s Dog Bite Statute Protect Dogs who are Attacked?
  2. What is the “Statute of Limitations” for California’s Dog Bite Law?
  3. Does California Require a Dog To Be Euthanized After It Bites Someone?
  4. Does California have a “One Bite Rule”?
  5. Does California Require a Dog To Be Quarantined After It Bites Someone?
  6. Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Legal References:

  1. The Insurance Institute, Spotlight on: Dog Bite Liability  
  2. Id.
  3. Id.

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