I am a single parent and have a dog. What if he bites somebody?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Dog bites are of great concern to insurance companies. They expose the policyholder and the company to a potentially large liability settlement. On top of the medical bills, there‘s the possibility of greater payout for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and if the dog is known to be aggressive, punitive damages.

Many insurance companies refuse to write a homeowners or renters policy for owners of certain dog breeds, such as Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Akitas and Rottweilers. Most insurance companies ask if there is a dog in the household and may ask about the dog’s history of biting.

After you file a claim for a dog bite, the insurance company may non-renew the policy and/or ask you to get rid of the dog. Once there is such a claim on your record, future insurance companies may refuse to write your insurance if you still have the dog, or they may have an exclusion for any dog bite, not just the dog that was responsible for the initial dog bite claim. While your dog may seem gentle to you and your family, take care in keeping it properly restrained, either in a fenced yard, on a restraint or both, to prevent a dog bite claim.

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