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Dog bites can have a bit impact on home insurance prices

Posted On Tue, September 15, 2009

One way to prevent an unnecessary increase in home insurance rates is to prevent any dogs living in the house from biting somebody or damaging their property.

A recent announcement from the Insurance Information Institute reminds homeowners that the average cost of dog bite-related legal settlements has risen steadily in recent years, along with the number of overall cases.

"Most dogs are friendly, loving members of the family. But even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when protecting their puppies, owners or food. Ultimately, the responsibility for properly training and controlling a dog rests with the owner," said Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute.

The organization points out that the average cost of a claim was $24,461 in 2008, although many home insurance policies offer liability coverage as high as $100,000. However, any legal settlement above that amount will leave the homeowner liable financially.

About 4.5 million Americans are said by the III to be bitten by dogs each year, with about 900,000 requiring medical treatment. With that in mind, a good way to avoid a legal and financial hassle that could impact one's home insurance rates is to keep a dog well-trained and on a leash when outside.

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