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What steps do I take if I don't have proper homeowners insurance to cover a dog bite?

Orlando, FL |

Recently my dog bit a neighbor after she was asked not to approach the dog. The neighbor was taken to hosp with unknown wounds. the dog was confiscated to be held for 10 days at which time it would be euthenized. We received a letter from an attorney representing the victim and we are not sure if we have animal coverage on the insurance policy

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Attorney answers 4


If you have an insurance policy, you should contact your insurance company, first by phone, and then follow their instructions. If you have coverage, your insurance company should hire a lawyer to defend you. If you do not have coverage for the claims being made against you, you may have to hire a lawyer on your own. Under no circumstances should you ignore the claim though, especially if it gets to court. A judgment against you can create problems for years.

No attorney-client relationship is intended by this answer.


If you have not done so already, contact your homeowner's insurance carrier and put them on notice. I assume that the victim's attorney asked you to provide your insurance information? That attorney should be communicating with your carrier about coverage issues.

If suit is filed, your carrier will provide an attorney to you.

That being said, more and more homeowner's policies are being written with exclusions for certain breeds and mixed breeds dogs such as Rottweilers and pit bulls. There may be case law already in Florida about the enforcement of such an exclusion. Discuss this with the carrier's attorney and you may want to consult a personal injury attorney near you to discuss this matter as well. Initial consultations are usually free.

General answers to legal questions such as this should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney in person to obtain legal advice.


You need to call your insurance company ASAP to find out if you have coverage, and if so then to report the claim.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


If you have a homeowners insurance policy, call the carrier up and report this claim. If you don't have dog bite coverage, the carrier will be very quick to point this out to you. In the interim, pull out your policy and read it. If you fail to report the claim in a timely manner, you may provide the insurance company a means by which to avoid coverage, with them claiming prejudice for your lack of prompt reporting.

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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