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6/19/2012 - Dog bite claims on the increase


Even generally peaceful dogs may bite if provoked.

While dogs may be a man's best friend, they can be a significant liability should they bite someone.

According to statistics from the Insurance Information Institute, insurers paid out more than $109 million in claims last year resulting from approximately 3,800 dog bites. Of these, the average general liability insurance cost per claim was nearly $29,396, a 12% increase from 2010.

Those with dogs may want to consider umbrella insurance. To reduce the risk of dog bites, III says to consider taking a few preventive measures.

For instance, if the dog has an aggressive demeanor, consult with a professional who is familiar with that breed. They may be able to offer suggestions for how to train them to be more docile.

Before buying, try to visit the dog on more than one occasion. Several meetings may help soon-to-be dog owners determine whether the dog has any behavioral issues that may result in an issue down the road, III advises.

Finally, if there are young children at home, be especially careful the first time a pet comes home. Children may be nervous around a new pet, so it is best to socialize the dog slowly so they can become more accustomed to having one around.

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