Dog Bites Accounted For More Than 1/3 Of All Homeowners Liability Pay Outs Last Year As Cost Per Claim Soars. Dog bite payouts increasing (and other dog-related injuries) to over $530 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States.
An analysis of homeowners insurance data found the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 percent in 2014. The average cost per claim for the year was up 15 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013.
“The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67 percent from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing,” said Loretta Worters, vice president with the I.I.I.
Dog Bite Payouts Increasing
The study noted that California continued to have the largest number of claims in the U.S. at 1,867. Ohio had the second highest number of claims at 1,009. While New York had only the third highest number of claims at 965, it registered the highest average cost per claim in the country. The average was a startling $56,628. Dog bite payouts increasing is a trend in higher costs per claim. This is attributable not simply to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, the elderly, etc. All of which can result in fractures and other blunt force trauma injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.
Be a Responsible Dog Owner
We see this at Happy Hound Dog Resorts that even good household dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. However, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place. The most dangerous dogs are those that fall victim to human shortcomings such as poor training, irresponsible ownership and breeding practices that foster viciousness.
“All dogs have the potential to bite, but for most, biting is a last resort,” said Victoria Stilwell, a well-known trainer. “If time is taken to raise, teach and socialize a dog correctly, the likelihood of a bite incident occurring is extremely low,” explained Stilwell, a passionate advocate for positive reinforcement training methods. “Confident dogs have less need to use aggressive behavior.”
Steps to reduce risk of a dog bite
- Consult with a professional (e.g., veterinarian, animal behaviorist or responsible breeder) to learn about suitable breeds of dogs for your household and neighborhood.
- Spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it. Use caution when bringing a dog into a home with an infant or toddler. A dog with a history of aggression is inappropriate in a household with children. Get the history on any dog you rescue, FIRST!
- Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful of or apprehensive about a dog. If so, delay acquiring a dog. Never leave infants or young children alone with any dog.
- Socialize your dog so it knows how to act with other animals and people.
- Discourage children from disturbing a dog that is eating or sleeping.
- Be cautious when exposing your dog to new situations in which you are unsure of its response.
- Never approach a strange dog and always avoid eye contact with a dog that appears threatening.
- Immediately seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists or responsible breeders if your dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.
Most dogs are great household pets. There are some that never receive the socialization around other humans, other dogs, or kids. These dogs do not understand how to behave around others. Be careful when your child wants to play with another dog, even if you have a dog at home. Remember that other dog is not YOUR dog. Your child needs to know that they other dog is unpredictable. We can help you with training classes to work with your dog. Dog Daycare will socialize him/her with other dogs. First Day of Dog Daycare is free, so come on in.