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Dog bites accounted for more than a third of all homeowner or renter policy liability claims last year, with an average claim of $24,840. Herndon dog attack lawyer Doug Landau has met with victims of dog attacks who could not be reimbursed for the harms caused by dangerous dogs because the defendants’ homeowners insurance company specifically excluded the injury causing dogs ! Canine attacks often cause permanent injury and scarring, both the physical and the emotional kind.

The Insurance Information Institute’s statistics were included in a recent piece in the AARP Bulletin. Most companies will cover dog bites, but one free bite is all you get in Virginia. After that, your company may charge a higher premium or exclude your dog from coverage. Landau has seen policies where there is a specific exclusion for dogs. So, even if you are the innocent victim of an unprovoked attack by the property owner’s dog, there may not be any insurance coverage for the harms and losses sustained. Some insurance companies require a liability waiver or charge more for breeds deemed dangerous such as pit bulls. In states like New jersey, "strict liability" is the rule, and there is no such thing as "one free bite." Know the law in your state and be a responsible owner: Take your dog to obedience school, have it spayed or neutered (unneutered dogs may bite more often), and keep an eye on children (the most common victims). If necessary, use a leash or a muzzle.

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