Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bite Away from Home ?
No South Carolina case specifically addresses whether a homeowner's policy provides coverage for a dog bite that occurs on a business premise away from the home.
However, a Missouri court addressed this issue in Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. v. Branch, 561 S.W.2d 371 (Mo. App. 1977).
In Lititz, a dog was taken from the residence to the business premises of a dairy where it was tethered. Subsequently, the dog bit a child.
The homeowner's policy insurer filed a declaratory judgment action alleging it did not have a duty to defend and indemnify the insured.
The policy exclusions in Lititz were very similar to those in this case. That policy excluded coverage for bodily injury or property damage arising out of business pursuits of any insured and injury or damage arising out of any premises, other than the insured premises, owned, rented or controlled by any insured.
The Lititz court reasoned the dog bite was the result of personal tortious conduct and was not causally related to the business premises. the court stated:
Liability for injuries caused by an animal owned by an insured arises from the insured's personal tortious conduct in harboring a vicious animal, not from any condition of the premises upon which the animal may be located. Id. at 374.