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Number of Dog Bites Breaks Record High

In 2013, the number of claims filed for dog bites increased nearly 6% totaling 17,369 claims.

The average cost for one of these claims is $27,862, a number that has increased 45% over the last ten years. Overall, these claims account for more than a third of all liability-claim dollars paid out of homeowners insurance in 2013.

Despite the record number of claims and payouts from the lawsuits, this number is still considered low, as the CDC estimates that an average of 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. However, insurance claims do not result from many of these bites.

Now, many insurance companies have become stricter with regards to dog-inflicted damages. These changes include charging high premiums for specific dog breeds; requiring these breeds to be taken to behavioral pet classes, or even asking homeowners to sign a waiver of liability for dog bites.

Source: Alyssa Abkowitz, “Dog Bite Claims Hit Record High,” Bloomberg Businessweek, October 1, 2014.

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