Our dog bit the neighbor. Will my homeowners insurance pay for his medical bills?

Homeowners liability insurance covers injury-related and legal expenses up to the stated limit (often $100,000 to $500,000). Policies also include medical payments coverage if you, a person in your household, or your pets accidentally injure another individual. Medical bills are covered up to the stated limit (often $1,000 to $5,000). Fault is not a factor in medical payments coverage.

The medical payments portion of your policy will likely cover the neighbor's dog bite-related doctor bills. A more serious bite may involve lost wages plus pain and suffering. The personal liability portion of your homeowners policy covers these expenses if you're legally responsible for the incident. Individuals in your household cannot claim liability or medical payments damages.

A dog in the household changes your homeowners insurance liability risk. Not informing the carrier about a pet could jeopardize your coverage. A vicious dog or one with a bite history may present more claim risk than the insurance company is willing to accept. Find out what to expect before a loss occurs.

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and over 800,000 seek medical treatment. Be a responsible owner. Socialize, train, and properly care for your pet.