Dog Bites Take A Big Bite Out of Homeowners Insurance Liability Claim Costs

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Although we believe our dogs are well trained and would never harm a fly, we have to remember that dogs can bite when they’re startled, scared or feel threatened. And dogs can harm people in other ways that have nothing to do with biting – such as knocking down a child when excited, or causing a cyclist to crash. All of damage caused is covered under dog bite insurance, and it’s a good safety net to have. That’s because in 2015, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015.

Related: New Stats Show Kids Most At Risk For Being Bitten By Dogs

According to some data crunching by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, homeowners shelled out $570 million in 2015 – and that’s with a 7.2 percent decrease in the number of dog bite claims nationwide. You can blame that impressive number on the average cost per claim, which was up 16 percent last year. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $37,214 in 2015, compared with $32,072 in 2014 and $27,862 in 2013. Due to increased medical costs and the size of settlements, don’t expect those average costs to go down any time soon.

As for number of claims per state, it turns out that California has the largest number of claims in the U.S. at 1,684 in 2015 (down from 1,867 in 2014) Illinois had the second highest number of claims at 931, followed by New York at 880.

You can see all the numbers reported in this survey on the Insurance Information Institute’s website.