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Jun 29 2016

Protect yourself from a pet liability claim

I was in my doctor’s office recently and found an article in the  AAA Tidewater Traveler magazine regarding how to reduce your risk of a pet liability claim.  I know I usually write blogs of how to protect pets, but this was a fascinating article on how to protect people from pets.

We all believe our pets are friendly and could never hurt a fly.  But dogs will often bite because they are scared; not necessarily because they are aggressive.  Here are some ways to protect yourself if your pet is not on his best behavior:

  1. Be honest about having a dog:  Let your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company know that you have a dog.  Also, update your policy if you get another dog.  You do not want to be responsible for someone’s medical costs because you failed to inform your agent that you had pets and you have no coverage.
  2. Know what your policy covers: Make sure you have coverage and that you have enough.  Your agent may advise you to keep a higher coverage amount if you have a pet who has bitten in the past, or a breed that is prone to biting.  Make sure, if you are considering adopting a pit bull or German shepherd (or other high-risk breed), will you still be covered?  If your pet bites someone, is your policy at risk of being canceled?
  3. Enroll your pet in a dog obedience course:  When your pet is a puppy, it’s best to go through a training course.  Teach your pet how to act around children and strangers entering your home.  Grafton Animal Hospital will soon be offering obedience classes again.  Call any of our staff for more information.
  4. Don’t leave your pet unsupervised:  If you are expecting a repair person in your home or yard, relocate your pet for the day.  If you are having a party, it may be best to put your dogs upstairs or board them for the evening.  If your pet spends part of the day in your backyard, make sure you have a secure fence.
  5. Keep medical records for your pet:  Keep your pets up to date on his/her vaccines and keep records of these vaccines in your home.  Grafton Animal Hospital can print or email a copy of your vaccine record anytime we are open for business.  You can also access your pet’s records on our website under the My Pet tab.

According to the article, one third of all homeowner’s insurance claims were pet related in 2014 to the tune of $530 million nationwide.  Yikes.  As much as nobody wants to get bitten by a dog, no one wants to be the owner of a dog that bites someone.  Make a note to contact your insurance company and make sure you are protected.  Feel free to call Grafton Animal Hospital at 757-898-8433 if you need help with records.

Link to the article:


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