More than one-third of all home insurance claims are from dog bites.
And while the number of claims is down, the cost of the average claim from dog bites and other injuries is on the rise, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, the nation’ largest writer of homeowners insurance.
The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not simply to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists and senior citizens — all of which I.I.I. says can result in fractures and other injuries that increase the severity of the losses.
Experts say that even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. The most dangerous dogs are those that suffer from poor training, irresponsible owners and breeding practices that foster viciousness.
“All dogs have the potential to bite, but for most, biting is a last resort,” said Victoria Stilwell, star of Animal Planet’s TV series, It’s Me or the Dog. “If time is taken to raise, teach and socialize a dog correctly, the likelihood of a bite incident occurring is extremely low. Confident dogs have less need to use aggressive behavior.”