Force Dog Owners to Have Insurance That Would Compensate Dog Bite Victims

Dogs need to be licensed, microchipped and insured. The insurance industry can help dog owners avoid financial ruin, dog bite victims pay medical bills and recover other losses, and communities weed out dangerous dogs. To accomplish this, all dogs (or at least the ones over 30 pounds) should be insured. Laws must be passed requiring that some or all dogs be licensed, microchipped and insured.

Already, many pet owners have a microchip embedded under the dog’s skin, to enable people to identify the dog if it is lost or it bites someone. Similarly, people with homeowners insurance or renters insurance already meet the requirement that is proposed here (unless their policy is defective by excluding accidents caused by animals).

As a condition of licensing, a dog owner should have to prove he or she has insurance to cover injuries caused by that dog. Without homeowner insurance, renter insurance, or dog liability insurance, a person should not be allowed to own a dog. Insurance is available and is not prohibitively expensive. (See Insurance for the dog owner: where to get dog owner liability insurance.)

If these laws are passed, the insurance industry will locate and weed out the dangerous dogs, simply by refusing to insure them. This will take pressure off the animal control departments and will shift the cost of dangerous dogs to the owners of those dogs.