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Dog bites claims fall, but cost for the treatments rise

Posted On Fri, May 13, 2011

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is upon us and to highlight its importance, the Insurance Information Institute is reminding pet lovers that their canine can wind up costing them a lot in their home insurance if they're not careful.

 According to the III, in 2010, dog bites cost home insurers $413 million, totaling one-third of all liability claims paid out.

Breaking the numbers down further, the III found that the average cost of dog bite claims last year was $26,166, representing a 5.3 percent increase in payments compared to 2009. However, the number of claims in 2010 was down, suggesting that what it costs to treat dog bites has risen.

Jeanne Salvatore, vice president of the III, said there are likely several reasons for this.

"The average cost per claim has risen over the last eight years which can be attributed to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs," said Salvatore.

State laws vary when it comes to determining dog owner liability. People looking to get a dog may want to get in touch with their home insurance company beforehand to see what plans cover dog bites.

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