Homeowners Liability Claims Increased 18 Percent due to Dog Bites

An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the Insurance Information Institute found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,123 in 2016, compared to 15,352 in 2015 – an 18 percent increase. The average attack cost $33,230, a decline from 2015, but up more than 70 percent from 2003 because of increased medical costs and larger settlements, the Insurance Information Institute said in a statement.

Children account for more than half of the injuries. “If they haven’t been properly trained by their parents on how to approach a dog, that’s a big issue,” Loretta Worters, a vice president with the Insurance Information Institute, said in an interview. “Children just go up, they see a cute dog, and they just start trying to pet it.”

Kids should be taught to ask permission before petting a dog, and not to run away, because such behavior can encourage pets to chase, she said. Owners should make sure they socialize puppies, helping them learn appropriate behaviors when they’re young, and have the dogs spayed or neutered, according to the institute.

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