A dog can be a wonderful companion. Many consider their dog to be a member of the family. I know my family does. However, a dog can also be a big liability. While most people believe this liability is limited to dog bites, the fact is that a dog owner is liable for any damage caused by their dog. This liability is not limited to dog bites.
In Florida, dog owners are strictly liable for damages caused by their dog. This means that unless someone is trespassing on your property or harassing your dog, you are liable for any damages caused by your dog. Some examples include:
- dog bites
- an unleashed dog causing a bicyclist to crash
- dog knocking down an elderly person or small child
Since a dog owner's liability is broad, it is important to have liability insurance to protect you and your assets. This liability insurance is typically part of your homeowner's insurance.
However, many homeowner policies, like those issued by Citizens, do not cover damages caused by dogs. If your policy excludes coverage, you are not protected from a possible claim. You should review your insurance policy and discuss it with your agent to make sure you are protected.
If your existing policy does not provide coverage for damages caused by your dog, you should get a different policy.