Insurance payouts on dog bites are rising

In our Feb. 23 blog posting, we wrote about how biting dogs could increase your homeowners insurance. Since then, new statistics have been released from the Insurance Information Institute.

According to the Institute’s findings, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid in 2011, costing nearly $479 million in the U.S. The cost of dog bite claims has risen 48 percent since 2003.

One of the largest homeowner insurance companies in the U.S. paid more than $109 million on nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011. Iowa was the 15th-highest state for dog bite claims for this company, which paid out $1.4 million on 70 claims in Iowa alone.

Bob Skow, CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa, said the high payouts are happening because more people own dogs and they live closer to one another. Parents are more likely to get advanced medical care, including plastic surgery, for their children after a bite.

The average cost of dog bite claims in the U.S. was $29,396 in 2011, up 53.4 percent from 2004.

There are 78.4 million dogs in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association, one dog for every four people in the country.

Want to learn more about homeowners insurance and liability coverage? Contact E. R. Munro and Company at 877-376-8676 or visit our Web site at