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Illinois homeowner insurance may cover dog bite liability

When you purchase homeowner's insurance, you may not be clear about exactly what it will cover. The average American knows that accidents at home can happen, so he or she gets insurance. There are many disasters that occur to us that are covered, for example, fires, car collisions, or a visit to the emergency room.

Surprisingly, most homeowner's insurance policies cover dog bites. In the cities of Illinois, dangerous and aggressive dogs often roam the streets and may end up biting someone. Having protection against a liability claim is good news. One-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims are related to dog bites.

Make sure you read your policy to make sure you have coverage. You need to be aware that even if an insurance company pays the claim, it might not be in your best interest to file one. If the deductible is high, you may want to pay out of pocket if Sparky bites the mailman. Insurance companies love it when we buy their policies, but may drop us if we start logging in too many claims.

If you own a dog and have people on your property, this type of coverage is good to have in case someone sues you for extensive medical and legal fees. Many standard policies on the average can provide up to $300,000 in liability.

The courts move slowly and lawsuits can take time to settle. They may result in astronomical charges, in excess of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Consider protecting yourself from personal liability if someone who comes onto the premises or inside your property line gets injured by a pet. Make sure you have enough coverage. Some companies suggest a wide umbrella policy, which can help lower the risk of an expensive court settlement.

Insurance companies will give you advice, but your best recourse if an accident occurs on your property, is to speak with someone who can advise you on what to do in your best interest. Personal injury or dog bites can be expensive, and it is critical that you seek help from someone who can interpret the law so as to protect your home, family, property, and yourself.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "7 surprising things your insurance policies cover" Cameron Huddleston, May. 08, 2014

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