Ask Ed: Ed Talks Dogs and Cars

We have a new dog park in town. Who is responsible if someone is bitten?

With dog parks becoming more popular at apartment complexes and in many towns, knowing your responsibility as an owner is even more important. Most dog parks have a sign at the entrance with rules and/or etiquette while you’re in the park, which relieves the city or land owner of any liability for injuries at the park. The liability for dog bites or any other injuries will fall back on the dog owner. Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically provide liability for dog bites up to the limits you purchase, however, many companies restrict coverage for certain breeds. It’s important to talk with your insurance agent about your pets to make sure you have adequate coverage and to see if you’re even eligible for your current policy based on your dog’s breed.

Tips for a safe, enjoyable visit to the dog park:

Monitor Behavior: If you notice a dog, yours or not, being aggressive, overly rowdy or even sick, it’s best to remove your pet immediately.
Don’t Take Treats: Competing for treats can lead to snapping and injury. Reward your pooch back at the car, away from other pets.
Separate By Size: Many parks have separate areas for smaller dogs. Use these when possible.

My car is now paid off, should I keep full coverage on it?

First, let’s talk about the term “full coverage”. Full coverage is a phrase often used to describe coverage for damage to your vehicle that you caused. On the policy, these are usually called comprehensive (other than collision) and collision. It’s best to avoid using the term “full coverage” because it can mean something different to each person and it’s important to know exactly what your policy covers.

If you don’t have a loan on your vehicle, paying for these additional coverages (not required by the state) is up to you and it all comes down to your personal risk tolerance. It’s best to start by looking at the value of your car—many websites offer this service. Once you know the value, assess your financial circumstance. If you were responsible for the damages to your vehicle, would you be able to cover the cost out of pocket? You’ll also want think about how long you plan to keep the car, and how much those coverages now cost per month. The good news is, you have options. Talk to your agent about your concerns and have them review the coverage and deductible options to find the right fit for your individual needs.

Ed Conley

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