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Pandemic-related lockdowns have led many people to bring new furry friends into their homes.
A survey by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that 21 percent of homeowners said they adopted a dog in 2020.
Despite the increase in the number of dogs in American households, dog bites from homeowners (and related injury), claims in 2020 fell 4.6 percent year over year to 16,990 from 17,800 nationally. This emerges from an analysis by Triple-I and State Farm.
According to State Farm, March had the most dog-related injury claims last year when people were first locked out at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of dog bites increased 21.6 percent from the previous March, likely due to dogs dealing with owner stress, routine disturbances, and more people around the house throughout the day. Experts fear that another disruption – this time due to the easing of restrictions on outside activities – could cause bites to rise again.
Although the total number of claims decreased, the total claims cost increased 7.1 percent to $ 853.7 million from $ 796.8 million in 2019. The average cost per claim increased 12.3 percent to 50,245 $ 44,760 in 2019.
The cost of dog bite claims has increased for years. Average cost per incident rose 162 percent nationally from 2003 to 2020, driven by increased medical costs and the upward trend in the size of settlements, judgments, and jury awards.
Damage costs come not only from dog bites, but also from dogs knocking down children, cyclists and the elderly, which can lead to costly injuries.
The latest information on Triple-I dog bites is released in conjunction with National Dog Bite Prevention Week, an event held each year to reduce the number of dog bites.
Children are particularly at risk of dog bites and are more likely to be seriously injured. Therefore, it is important that parents train their children to be safe around strange dogs and their own pets.
Of course, dog training is key to preventing dog bites and related injuries for everyone, and the organizers of National Dog Bite Prevention Week offer plenty of practical tips. This year, dog experts are particularly focusing on rehabilitation of animals that were isolated along with their humans in the past year.
For more advice to pet owners, members of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition, which includes the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), State Farm, Insurance Information Institute (Triple I), American Humane, and Victoria Stilwell Positively, will Host a Facebook Live event on Monday April 12th at 1pm Eastern.
Triple-I recommends that you check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to make sure that liability for dog bites and related injuries is covered. Click here for more information on dog bite liability insurance.
Infographic: National Dog Bite Prevention Week
The focus is on liability for dog bites
Pet insurance facts