Insurance: Policy Types

Types of policies when a person is accused of responsibility for a dog bite

Dog owners usually are insured against dog bite liability under one of the following types of insurance policies:

HO-3, Homeowner
H0-4, Renters
H0-5, Homeowner (aka HO-3 + 15)
HO-6, Condominium
DP1 or DWG1 or Dwelling 1
DP3 or DWG3 or Dwelling 3

Let’s focus on the homeowner’s policy. It usually has the following coverages:

Coverage A : Dwelling
Coverage B: Other Structures
Coverage C: Personal Property
Coverage D: Loss of Use
Coverage E: Liability
Coverage F: Medical Payments

Not all of the coverages are in play in a dog bite case. The only important ones are Coverage E and Coverage F.

Coverage E: Liability

This is coverage for bodily injury or property damage that the insured person is legally liable for. Coverage limits usually start at $100,000 and are often up to $500,000. There is no deductible and no copayment. A homeowner can purchase higher liability limits by purchasing an Umbrella Policy at a small cost, and the Umbrella Policy will also provide higher limits to other polices such as an auto liability policy.

Coverage F: Medical Payments

This provides coverage for medical bills for people injured at the insured location regardless of legal liability. This is a “no-fault” coverage. Typical limits are $1.000 to $10,000. There is no deductible and no copayment.

Exclusions and special limits

Animals, dogs, breeds of dog, dogs with a history of biting are sometimes excluded from coverage, meaning the person with the insurance is nonetheless uninsured.

If the loss is caused by an animal or a dog, there sometimes is a special low limit of coverage, so a $500,000 might provide only $50,000 for a dog attack.