Thousands of households in North Carolina have dogs as pets. Most canine companions are friendly and meaningful additions to their households. You may encounter dogs while out at the park, when visiting a friend at their home or even when going into a local business. Most of those dogs are generally well-trained and behave themselves.
However, the risk is there for a dog to become aggressive and hurt you or someone else in your family. When will insurance cover the injury?
Dog bites often fall under premises liability. When someone visits a residence or business where there is a dog that becomes violent, that individual can file a claim against the dog owner’s homeowners insurance, renters insurance or premises liability insurance to recover their lost wages and medical costs, as well as any property damage.
What if the dog has a history of aggression?
North Carolina generally requires that a dog display aggressive behavior for an owner to have strict liability for a dog bite. Insurance may cover it either way, but you will definitely have a stronger case if there is a previous recorded bite by the same dog or the owner warns people about potential aggressive behavior.
When insurance may not cover it
If a dog bite occurs on private property, like someone’s home, the insurance company may decline to cover the injury if it was not aware that the dog was there. Owners generally have to disclose the presence of an animal to their insurer and pay for coverage related to their pets.
If they don’t disclose that their dog is one of the breeds or types of dogs with a higher risk for a bite incident, such as a Pit bull, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky or German Shepherd, the insurance company may not cover the incident even if they cover the homeowner.
Looking in to all of your options after a dog bite may need to include looking at a personal injury claim against the owner of the animal if there isn’t insurance to compensate you.