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Dog bites among highest homeowners insurance claim costs

In a recently released study, the Insurance Information Institute found that claims against homeowner's insurance policies for dog bites are second only to fire. Yep, they even beat out hurricanes, floods and credit card theft.

The average cost of a dog bite case settlement was nearly $30,000 and accounted for a third of all the homeowners claims paid out last year. In fact, Michigan was ranked sixth in the country for dog bite claims.

Why? It's estimated that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.

Because most dog bites happen to children, in fact nearly 60 percent of all dog bites, the payouts requested are higher because parents want to take their children to plastic surgeons, even if their children just have a little nip on the hand.

Most insurance companies will not sell coverage to property owners that own so-called "vicious" dogs. They certainly will not cover you if your dog already has a record of being aggressive or biting. Some will only cover certain breeds if there are restrained or muzzled at all times.

When does the law impose liability on dog owners?

  1. a dog owner may be automatically liable for any injury without provocation by statute
  2. if the victim can prove the dog owner knew the dog was dangerous
  3. a dog owner is liable if the owner was careless, negligent or not in control of the dog when the injury occurred

Visit our Michigan animal bites web page to learn more about our substantial awards achieved from personal injury claims filed after dog bites.

Source: theadvocate.com, "Dog bites rank high among insurance claims," Ted Griggs, July 26, 2012

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