Know Your Insurance – Dog Bites & Liabilities

Sharing your home with dogs can be a delightful and rewarding experience, often providing you and your family with company and comfort while encouraging you to enjoy the outdoors. However, while these furry friends can be beloved additions to your family and household, they may also come with potential risks. After all, regardless of how well trained or docile they may be, these animals may still exhibit unpredictable behavior that could even become violent.

Dog owners should take time to understand how their pet biting someone, such as a guest, neighbor or passerby, could potentially incur significant financial consequences. Much like how a child injuring someone or a teenage driver causing an accident might lead to costly losses that affect everyone on the policy, you may be considered at fault for incidents involving your dog. Fortunately, understanding and optimizing your insurance coverage may help you enjoy financial security and peace of mind following these situations.

Why Should My Insurance Account for Dog Bites?

Some dog owners may make the mistake of thinking their adorable pets cannot inflict significant harm; however, this misconception could prove costly. According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), nearly 4.5 million Americans (many of whom are children) are bitten by dogs annually; the number of claims against homeowners insurance for dog-related injuries and the average cost per claim has risen in recent years. Furthermore, according to Triple-I and State Farm, liability claims arising from bites and other dog-related injuries resulted in nearly $1.2 billion in costs for homeowners insurance carriers in 2023 alone. Even a small and usually well-behaved dog can inflict significant harm on a person, and resulting medical bills and other financial losses could lead to catastrophic costs.

Understanding the Law

In 29 states, you are legally responsible for injuries inflicted by your dogs, although exceptions may apply. Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia do not automatically consider dog owners to be liable for the actions of their pets, but attacks can be considered misdemeanors or even felonies in some cases, according to Triple-I. In some cases, insurance companies may adjust rates or deny coverage altogether for homeowners who own certain breeds, although they may be prohibited from doing so in some states.

Generally, three types of laws may apply if your dog injures someone:

  • Dog-bite statutes may automatically consider you liable for unprovoked bodily injuries or property damage caused by your pet.
  • A one-bite rule may hold you responsible for injuries caused by your dog if the victim can prove that you were aware of the dangers your pet presented.
  • Negligence laws may consider you at fault if an incident occurred due to your carelessness, negligence or failure to control your pet.

Dog attacks can lead to significant fines and legal ramifications for you and your family. For example, there have been cases where individuals were convicted of charges, including murder and involuntary manslaughter, after their dogs attacked someone. Dog owners should research and understand their states’ laws regarding dog-bite liability and then take measures to reduce the risk of bites.

Insurance Solutions for Dog Bites

Given the financial and legal ramifications that could arise from an incident where your dog bites someone, it’s critical for you to have adequate insurance coverage. Fortunately, standard homeowners insurance policies typically include personal liability coverage, which can extend to your spouse, children and pets. If your dog bites someone or otherwise causes injuries, such as if they knock someone down inadvertently while playing, your insurance may help cover the affected party’s medical bills and financial losses. Similarly, your personal liability coverage may assist with repair or replacement costs should your dog damage someone’s property, such as digging up a neighbor’s garden.

Still, you should be aware of any restrictions or exclusions in your homeowners insurance. While many policies may include dogs under their personal liability coverage, some insurance companies may exempt certain breeds, such as rottweilers and pit bulls. In some cases, insurers may evaluate your dog before deciding on coverage. You should also be aware that personal liability coverage does not extend to incidents where you or other members of your household are injured. For financial protection after your dog bites you or your children, you will require alternate coverage.

Considering the expensive consequences of dog bites, you may wish to retain additional coverage beyond the capabilities of your homeowners insurance. In these situations, personal umbrella insurance emerges as a valuable investment. These policies establish a secondary layer of liability coverage, meaning that if your homeowners insurance coverage limits are exhausted, you can receive additional aid.

Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

While having suitable insurance can help limit the financial consequences of your dog biting someone, keeping an incident from occurring in the first place is ideal. Consider the following strategies to minimize the chance of your dog harming someone:

  1. Invest in training classes for your dog and compound these teachings with your own efforts at home, particularly in regard to stopping aggressive behavior.
  2. Have your dog spayed or neutered to reduce unpredictability, adventurousness and aggression.
  3. Introduce your dog to a variety of people and environments to help your pet be more comfortable in unfamiliar situations.
  4. Avoid environments where you cannot predict how your dog will react. This may include confining them to a room or kennel while having company over.
  5. Be aware of your dog’s breed and behavioral tendencies, and understand any potential triggers.
  6. Obey leash laws and ensure yard fencing is sufficient to contain the dog, as applicable.
  7. Be especially cautious with your dog around young children, who are the most frequently bitten.
  8. Maintain your dog’s health, as dogs who are sick or in pain may be more likely to lash out.
  9. Recognize your dog’s behavior, including knowing when they are agitated or stressed. Be ready to de-escalate a situation if this occurs when others are around.

Ultimately, you know your dog better than anyone. Consider talking with a veterinarian about potential causes and remediation if your dog is acting strangely or showing signs of aggression.

For More Information

Dogs can be beloved additions to your family and household, but these animals still possess sharp teeth and claws that could inflict significant injuries. As a responsible dog owner, you should be diligent and dedicated to minimizing the risk of your pet harming someone else or otherwise causing damage. Furthermore, adequate insurance coverage should be a top priority to ensure you can manage the financial fallout of such incidents.

We’re here to help. At Dimond Bros. Insurance we can help you understand coverage options related to your dog and limit potential losses. Contact us today for more resources.

This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice

Embarking on Adventure?

As the summer months approach, many people start planning their road trips and vacations in their recreational vehicles (RVs). However, as an independent insurance agency, we know that it’s important for RV owners to understand the importance of having proper insurance coverage to protect them and their vehicles.

RV insurance is a specialized form of insurance that provides coverage for the unique risks associated with owning and operating an RV. It typically includes liability coverage, which covers damage or injuries that you may cause to others while driving your RV, as well as physical damage coverage to protect your RV in case of an accident or theft.

One important thing to keep in mind is that RV insurance is not the same as auto insurance. While they may have some similarities, RV insurance covers a wider range of risks and often includes additional coverage options, such as coverage for personal belongings that are stored in your RV.

When shopping for RV insurance, it’s important to work with an independent insurance agent who can help you compare policies from multiple insurers and find the coverage that’s right for you. They can also help you understand the different types of coverage that are available and answer any questions you may have about your policy.

Another thing to consider is that RV insurance rates can vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of RV you own, its age and value, and your driving record. By working with an independent insurance agent, you can find competitive rates on your RV insurance without sacrificing coverage.

Before embarking on your next adventure, consider having the following protections in place through your RV insurance policy:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage
  • Property damage liability coverage
  • Collision coverage
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Medical payments coverage
  • Contents coverage
  • Roadside assistance coverage
  • Vacation and campsite liability coverage
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

As summer approaches and more people hit the road in their RVs, it’s important to make sure you have the right insurance coverage to protect yourself and your vehicle. By working with an independent insurance agent and understanding the different types of coverage available, you can enjoy your travels with peace of mind knowing that you’re protected.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.

Tips for Teens in Agriculture

Every year, thousands of farm workers are injured and hundreds more die in farming accidents. According to the National Safety Council, agriculture is the most hazardous industry in the nation. Be aware of the hazards and safety practices on a farm, especially as a young worker.

Common Hazards

  • Tractors are involved in a high proportion of farm fatalities and injuries.
  • Struck-by – Farm machinery can cause accidents, but you can also get hit by livestock.
  • Chemicals and pesticides can enter your body in many ways, including inhalation, contact with skin and clothes, and accidental ingestion (such as eating with unwashed hands).
  • Organic dust comes from hay, grain, fuel chips, straw and livestock. It includes molds, pollens, bacteria, pesticides, chemicals and feed, bedding and animal particles.
  • Overexertion – Prolonged reaching, bending and lifting can lead to muscle aches, strains and sprains.
  • Confined Spaces – You are at risk of being overcome by gases when entering sites without proper ventilation, such as a manure pit, silo or grain bin. Workers entering a grain bin being emptied are also at risk of being crushed or suffocated by flowing grain.
  • Electrocution is one of the most overlooked hazards of farm work. The most common cause of electrocutions are portable grain augers, oversized wagons, large combines and other tall equipment that comes into contact with overhead power lines.
  • Falls are the most common accidents in agriculture. Falls of just 12 feet can kill you. Many occur because of slips and trips that can be avoided by wearing proper shoes.

Safety Solutions

You are responsible for following ’s safe work practices, which include the following:

  • If you are under age 16, you cannot: operate a tractor and certain types of machinery; handle certain classes of chemicals; work inside a fruit, forage or grain storage structure; work in a manure pit; work on a ladder or scaffold over 20 feet high; and/or work in a yard or stall with a bull, boar or stud horse.
  • Receive proper training before operating any machinery.

For more information about the Farm and Agriculture team here at Dimond Bros. Insurance please contact Scott Jensen at

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.

Trends Effecting Commercial Liability – Social Inflation Concerns

Insurance experts often examine how outside trends, reforms and movements in the larger economy affect the insurance marketplace, and businesses should follow suit to determine what factors may impact their coverage. For 2024, there are a host of sweeping market developments to consider, one of which we are discussing today.

Social Inflation Concerns

Social inflation refers to societal trends that influence the ever-rising costs of insurance claims and lawsuits above the general economic inflation rate. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the “social” aspect of this term represents shifting social and cultural attitudes regarding who is responsible for absorbing risk (i.e., the insurer or the plaintiff). As the commercial insurance sector shifts, it’s essential to understand what’s currently driving social inflation.


One of the factors driving social inflation has to do with third-party litigation funding (TPLF). Such funding refers to when a third party provides financing for a lawsuit. In exchange, the third party receives a portion of the settlement. In the past, the steep cost of attorney fees would often discourage plaintiffs from taking a lawsuit to trial. But, through TPLF, most or all of the costs associated with litigation are covered by a third party, which has increased the volume of cases being pursued. Not only is TPLF becoming more common, but it also increases the cost of litigation, sometimes to seven figures. This is because plaintiffs can take cases further and seek larger settlements.

Tort Reform

Tort reform refers to laws that are designed to reduce litigation. In particular, tort reforms are used to prevent frivolous lawsuits and preserve laws that prevent abusive practices against businesses. Many states have enacted tort reforms over the last several decades, leading to fewer claims and caps on punitive damages; for example, 2023 saw Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sign a tort reform bill into law in an effort to curb predatory litigation practices, limit personal injury lawsuits and minimize attorneys’ fees. However, some states have modified or challenged tort reforms as unconstitutional. Opponents believe tort reforms lower settlements to the point where attorneys are less likely to take on new cases and help victims get justice for their injuries or other damages. Further complicating matters, tort reform is subject to uncertainty, as it’s largely tied to political leanings and the interests of individual states. Should tort reform continue to erode, there could be fewer restrictions on punitive and noneconomic damages, statutes of limitations and contingency fees, all of which can drive up the cost of claims and exacerbate social inflation.

Plaintiff-friendly Legal Decisions and Large Jury Awards

The overall public sentiment toward large businesses and corporations is deteriorating, and anticorporate culture is more prevalent than ever. A number of factors are contributing to this increasing distrust, including the highly publicized issues related to the mishandling of personal data and social campaigns. This has considerably impacted how a jury perceives businesses in court, and organizations are held to a higher standard for issues related to how they conduct their business. In fact, juries are increasingly likely to sympathize with plaintiffs, especially if a business’s reputation has been tarnished in some way in the past. As a result, plaintiff attorneys are likely to play to a jury’s emotions rather than the facts of the case. Compounding this issue, there’s an increasing public perception that businesses—particularly large ones—can afford the cost of any damages. This means juries are likely to have fewer reservations when it comes to awarding damages. In the current environment, nuclear verdicts (jury awards of $10 million or more) have become more common.

This document is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. For more details regarding the information contained in this report, contact Dimond Bros. Insurance today.

In addition to helping you navigate the insurance market, Dimond Bros. Insurance has resources to assist in your risk management efforts. Business owners who proactively address risk, control losses and manage exposures will be more adequately prepared for changes in the market and more likely to  get the more out of each insurance dollar spent.  Contact Karri McRight (Partner) at or your Dimond representative for more information. 

The Importance of Certificates of Insurance

No matter what industry you’re in, chances are your organization will, at some point, rely on the help of a third party to fulfil certain business needs. Regardless of who you work with, business arrangements with contractors and vendors can open you up to a number of risks—risks that need to be accounted for through insurance.

However, when accounting for risks related to contracted work, securing your own insurance is not always enough. It’s critical that your partners are covered as well. This is particularly important when you consider that, following an incident involving a contractor or vendor, your business could be the one held liable for any damages that occur.

To protect against this sort of risk, many organizations turn to certificates of insurance (COIs).

What is a Certificate of Insurance?

One of the main ways organizations manage and review the coverages of their partners is through COIs. A COI is a valuable—yet misunderstood—tool in the insurance industry. COIs are used across a variety of commercial business relationships and essentially serve as proof that a particular party has an insurance policy in effect.

While you may require your partners and vendors to carry insurance in your contracts, coverage needs can change quickly, making it necessary to regularly review the policies. In addition, contractors and vendors may not be honest about what risk management strategies they have in place, making you wrongfully assume you are protected.

Often only a few pages long, COIs are summary documents issued on behalf of an insurer that outline the name of the insurer and insured, essential terms and conditions, policy limits and the duration of the policy.

COIs also contain qualifying language that defines the document as informational. This means that COIs are not contracts or the legal equivalent of actual insurance policies.

The Purpose of COIs

For the insured, COIs serve as proof of coverage—proof that can be provided to customers, contractors or other third parties quickly and efficiently. COIs also indicate that the insured has the financial resources available to protect those who may be harmed by their actions.

It’s incredibly important for businesses to get COIs for every contractor or third party they bring onto a project. Even if you have worked with these third parties in the past and trust them, COIs prevent organizations from accidently taking on risks associated with the work of their subcontractors and vendors.

Before allowing contractors to perform work on your property or on your behalf, asking for a COI is a must. This can help you in several ways:

  • COIs can keep companies from taking on unnecessary risks if a contractor is responsible for a loss and is not properly insured.
  • COIs can provide protection in the event that a contractor is injured on your property while performing work.
  • COIs ensure organizations are compensated if contracted work is done improperly or not completed.

However, while collecting COIs is an important risk management strategy, there are a number of administrative considerations to keep in mind.

Managing COIs Effectively

Managing COIs can pose an administrative challenge, and businesses need to have procedures in place to collect and maintain them effectively. Many organizations choose to automate this process as much as possible, opting for systems that notify them when a COI is required but is no longer in effect.

In addition, when managing COIs, it’s important to ask yourself the following:

  • Is the COI provided on a proper form?
  • Is the company named on the COI the same as the one named in the contract?
  • Is the policy issued by a reputable insurer?
  • Is the COI signed by an insurance company or agency representative?
  • Are the types and limits of insurance listed on the form the same or greater than those required by you under the contract?
  • Are specific policy numbers listed on the certificate?
  • Are the dates of coverage adequate for the specified work?
  • Are there notice of cancellation provisions listed on the COI? Are they acceptable?
  • Does the COI indicate any special insurance requirements you have specified?
  • Do you require written contracts with every third party you work with, either by annual agreement for all work or by separate agreement for each project?
  • Are your files organized and do they account for contracts, COIs and any other additional insured endorsements?
  • Do you have a system in place (e.g., a certificate management system) for tracking expiration dates?

Learn More

Securing the right insurance policy, outlining specific insurance requirements in all contracts and requiring COIs can provide all parties with peace of mind. However, securing and managing COIs can be complicated, and it’s critical to enlist the help of an experienced insurance broker.

Contact Dimond Bros. Insurance today to learn more.

This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.

Dimond Bros Insurance Named a Commercial Lines ‘Circle of Excellence Agency’ by Western National Insurance Group


(Minneapolis, Minn.) Western National Insurance Group today announced that Kankakee, Ill.-based Dimond Bros Insurance has been named one of Western National’s Commercial Lines Circle of Excellence Agencies for 2024.

The Western National Commercial Lines Circle of Excellence recognition is announced annually to spotlight an elite group of partners who have excelled based on performance and growth over the past five years (2019 – 2023). An agency must also demonstrate that they meet high standards of professional excellence and integrity in order to be considered for this recognition. Dimond Bros Insurance’s place among this list is a testament to the overall quality of the agency’s insurance professionals and their commitment to meeting the needs of their insurance clients.

This recognition places Dimond Bros Insurance in the 85th percentile of all Western National commercial lines partners for overall performance, growth, and partnership over the past five years.

Western National Insurance, headquartered in Edina, Minn., is a super-regional group of property-and-casualty insurance companies. The Group writes business through five active insurance companies—Western National Mutual Insurance Company, Western National Assurance Company, Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company, Umialik Insurance Company, and American Freedom Insurance Company — and is affiliated with Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. Together, the affiliated Group writes over $1 billion in personal and commercial direct premium in 20 states across the Northern, Midwestern, and Western U.S. as well as in Alaska; and surety bonds in 43 states. All of the companies’ products are sold exclusively through professional Independent Insurance Agents.

For further information, please contact:

Steve Norman, CPCU, M.A., AIT

Senior Vice President – Communications & Customer Experience

(952) 921-5680 or (800) 862-6070 Ext. 7680