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The homeowner's insurance refused to take a claim for a dog bite; they said that they dont cover that. Whats the next step?

Palm Harbor, FL |

A Pitbull bit my little girl a few months ago and when the homeowner called to make the claim they said that they don't cover dog bites. Its there anything else that I can do? Looks like my little one needs a plastic surgery- she was bitten on her face. Or something else that the owner can do?

Attorney Answers 10


  1. I'd encourage you to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney who can determine whether the homeowners policy does preclude such claims, whether there might be other insurance available & otherwise fully evaluate the claim.


  2. Without reviewing the policy it is tough to say. I find it very doubtful that a homeowner's policy doesn't cover a dog bite, however, some breeds can be excluded. You need to see the policy to be sure. If the insurance won't cover the claim, the homeowner is still liable if the dog has vicious propensities. You need an attorney to get the policy and analyze it. I doubt he homeowner's insurance carrier will willingly provide it but, maybe they will.

    Good luck.

    Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Habberfield is licensed to practice law in the States of New York and Pennsylvania. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Habberfield strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.


  3. You should get an attorney to review the policy. If there is no coverage, you can sue the homeowner if they have anything to satisfy judgment.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Alabama. Responses are based solely on Alabama law unless stated otherwise.


  4. Unfortunately most homeowner policies in Florida do not include dog bite coverage. I agree with the other lawyers, never believe the insurance company’s denial. If the bite is serious enough seek out a lawyer who can evaluate both your injury and the likelihood of collecting from the homeowner. Florida makes it hard to collect from someone’s personal assets, so unless the person has significant assets, the lawyer may well advise you it will not be economically feasible to pursue a claim; but consultations are almost always free, so might as well find a qualified lawyer in your area and see what they recommend. Good luck.

    Jonathan Groff's practice is devoted to all aspects of personal injury litigation throughout Florida However, this reply should NOT be considered a legal opinion of your case / inquiry. At this time I do not have sufficient factual/legal documentation to give a complete answer to your question and there may be more to the issues you raised then I have set out in my brief reply. Further, unless your matter concerns Florida law, I am not licensed to practice or give legal advice in your state.


  5. The homeowner insurance policies that do cover dog bites tend to exclude coverage for "dangerous dogs" which usually include pit bulls and rottweilers. Again, I would need to read the policy to be sure.


  6. 1/3 of all homeowners claims are paid to dog bite victims. I wouldn't believe the homeowner or the insurance company. Retain a personal injury lawyer to find out whether or not there truly is insurance coverage.

    Licensed in Pennsylvania & New Jersey & Serving the Nation. Only 29% Fee Deducted. 1-877-258-3083. www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com


  7. I agree with the earliier comments. Historically, Homeowner's insurance did cover dogbites. However , after Hurricane Andrew rates increased and it seemed like in an effort to keep base rates down, dogbites were excluded under the main policy . Dogowners then had to pay extra for a "rider" to cover dogbites.


  8. It is not that they "say they don't cover dog bites". You must obtain a copy of the full policy and have a lawyer of your choice review it with you to determine if the policy actually covers dog bites. Cannot just go with what the insurer says.


  9. First, I concur with my colleagues that you should retain a top plaintiff's lawyer who will get a copy of the policy per the Florida insurance disclosure statute, section 627.4137. Second, even if there is a specific exclusion for dog bites, almost every homeowners policy includes "medical payments" coverage that is extended for any injury on the premises, irrespective of fault. I am very sorry to hear about your little girl's injury. Do not lose hope and go forward as discussed. Good luck


  10. You should obtain needed medical care and treatment immediately and follow the doctor's advice. Do not give any statement to the adverse party or insurance company nor grant them access to any medical records. Photograph the injuries and the damage done to any property. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. You may also find it helpful to review the Legal Guides I have published on Avvo.com dealing with many of the issues you are now facing.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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