If Your Pet Hurts Someone, Will Your Homeowners Insurance Protect You?

For many people, a house is not a home without a dog—in fact, 85 million dogs live in U.S. households. While the vast majority of dogs never hurt anyone, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, most of them children. And in 2022, Florida had the second highest number of dog bite insurance claims as well as the second highest average cost per claim ($78,203), according to the Insurance Information Institute (

Even if your dog is calm and well-mannered, it’s still true that even the sweetest of dogs can bite someone if they’re scared or agitated. In addition, your dog doesn’t need to bite to injure someone. He could knock over a child or an elderly person, or cause someone to trip and fall. What financial protection do you have if that happens?

(View more tips for preventing dog bites.)

Homeowners insurance and dog bite liability

Dog bite coverage, also called pet or animal liability, covers legal and medical expenses for anyone your pet accidentally injures. While many homeowners (and renters) insurance policies do offer liability protection if your dog bites or otherwise injures someone, more and more home insurance companies are excluding dog bite liability or limiting coverage. Some companies won’t cover certain dog breeds thought to be aggressive, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers.

If you have a dog, review your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it includes animal liability. And if you buy or adopt a dog during your policy term, check with your insurance company to make sure you have animal liability coverage should you need it. 

Animal liability options

If your homeowners policy doesn’t cover animal liability, or doesn’t provide enough coverage, you have some options. You may be able to buy an umbrella policy to supplement your homeowners coverage—just make sure the policy you choose includes animal liability.  

Also, some Florida insurance companies have created separate dog bite liability policies or endorsements that offer more coverage and/or don’t have any breed restrictions.

Finding the appropriate policy is something you’ll want to discuss with your insurance agent.

L & M Insurance Group for all your insurance needs

Whether or not you have a dog, if you need a homeowners insurance policy, please give L & M Insurance Group a call (813-672-4100) or click here to contact us online. One of our trusted agents can guide you through the process of finding the insurance coverage that’s best for your individual situation.

In addition to homeowners, we also write most types of insurance, including auto, business and commercial, flood, and life. L & M Insurance Group is an independent agency located in Riverview, and serves clients in Brandon, Tampa, Valrico, Gibsonton and surrounding communities.


Tips for a Safer Thanksgiving

As you prepare to gather with family and friends for Thanksgiving, L & M Insurance Group wants to thank you for your business, and wish you a happy holiday. We also want to remind you of a few Thanksgiving safety precautions to take to ensure that you also have a safe holiday. Thanksgiving can be a surprisingly perilous day.

While your car and homeowners/renters insurance should protect you financially if you face one of these Thanksgiving mishaps, we hope you will never have to spend any of your holiday time making a claim. Here’s a look at the more common accidents that happen on Thanksgiving, and some tips for avoiding them.

Car accidents

Millions of motorists hit the roads during the four-day Thanksgiving break. Unfortunately, many of them will be distracted or driving while under the influence of alcohol. The National Safety Council estimates that 417 people will die in traffic accidents during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday, and 47,500 injuries will occur. If you’re driving to a Thanksgiving celebration, take extra care. Buckle those seat belts, put away your phone. If alcohol figures into your Thanksgiving celebrations, make sure you designate a driver, or use a ride service. If you’re the host, don’t be shy about arranging a ride home for a guest who’s had too much to drink. 


On Thanksgiving Day, cooking fires are three times more common, do more property damage, and claim more lives than on any other day of the year. Unattended cooking is usually the culprit, so keep a close eye on the stove and oven when they’re in use. Have a fire extinguisher on hand, and know how to use it. Check the batteries in smoke detectors and make sure they’re functioning before the festivities start.

Candles left burning are another source of home fires. Be sure to blow them all out before leaving the house or going to sleep. And never leave children unattended in a room with a lit candle.


To prevent a slip or trip and fall, keep all high traffic areas clear. Watch out for kids playing, toys, purses, or bags where people will be walking. Check handrails for sturdiness, and warn guests of any slippery spots on your driveway or walkways.

Pet problems

Holiday parties can be stressful to pets, and cause even friendly ones to bite or scratch. If you have pets, for both their safety and that of your guests, provide a safe and quiet place for them to retreat while you have company. A dog bite or cat scratch can quickly spoil a party. (Click here for more information on dog bite liability.)

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at L & M Insurance Group. We thank you for allowing us to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to call (813-672-4100) or email us if you have questions about your insurance needs. We’re here to help.