Research compiled by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) suggests that man’s best friend may not be so friendly after all, at least to insurers’ wallets.

Dog bite-related claims comprise one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims, the organization reports. In 2007 alone, insurers shelled out $356 million for liability claims involving dog bites. This figure represented a 10.5 percent increase from the previous year. The average cost of a dog bite claim, the I.I.I. believes, is $24,511. While the cost of these claims has increased by almost 28 percent since 2003, Loretta Worters, I.I.I vice president, points out that the number of claims has remained relatively stable at close to 14,500.

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