Dog Bite Homeowner Responsible Even If Doesn’t Own Dog

HOMEOWNER CAN BE SUED FOR DOG BITE EVEN IF NOT OWNER OF DOG

Does homeowners insurance cover a dog bite even if the owner of the house does not own the dog?  Our attorneys are asked this question regularly.  The answer depends on the relationship between the homeowner and the dog owner.  In Minnesota, a landlord is usually not responsible for a tenant’s dog.  So, if the dog owner is renting a house, or even a room in a house, the owner of the house may not be liable. Hopefully, the renter has renters insurance that will cover the incident.

However, if the owner of the dog is staying at the house as a guest, the homeowner car be responsible even if they don’t own the dog. Therefore, their homeowners insurance will have to cover the dog attack/bite. Our lawyers have had many cases where an adult child is staying at their parents’ house when their dog bites someone. Likewise, when a homeowner has a friend visiting, and the person staying or visiting owns a dog that bites someone. A short visit by a dog would not necessarily make the homeowner responsible. But the longer the dog is staying there, and the more direct contact the homeowner has with the dog, the more likely the homeowner is responsible.

Unfortunately, the homeowner’s own insurance will not apply if a visiting dog bites them or their family member.  Most homeowner’s policies would exclude coverage in that situation. Homeowner’s insurance would usually only cover a dog bite if the dog attacks or bites someone not living in the same home. In that situation, it would have to be the dog owner’s insurance that covers the situation.

Homeowner Responsible for Dog Staying With Them
Homeowner Responsible for Dog Staying With Them

DOG BITE INSURANCE FROM TWO POLICIES

The dog owner is always primarily responsible when their dog bites someone. Therefore, if the dog owner has insurance coverage, that insurance will have to pay compensation first for the person who was bitten. However, if the dog owner doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance, then the homeowner where the dog is staying will have to submit the claim to their insurance.