2008 statistics released by the Insurance Information Institute indicates that one third of all liability claims filed by homeowners are dog bite related. Compared with 2007 statistics, the number of claims in 2008 rose nearly 9% from 14,531 to 15,823. Insurance companies paid out $387.2 million in 2008 up nearly 9% from a $356.2 million in 2007.
Higher medical costs and more costly court decisions has pushed the average dog bite cost to insurers up nearly 28% since 2003, from $19,162 to $24,461. Nearly half of the victims are children, and when children are involved higher jury verdicts are frequently awarded because juries tend to sympathize with children, particularly when they are bitten viciously and when the owner /defendants were reckless about their care for the dog.
An official from the insurance information Institute characterized the situation as “canine bites are sinking their teeth into homeowners insurance costs.”