Dog bites (and other dog-related injuries) accounted for more than one-third of all Homeowners' insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015, costing in excess of $570 million, according to the New York City-based Insurance Information Institute and Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm, the largest writer of Homeowners' insurance in the United States.

An analysis of Homeowners' insurance data by the institute found that although the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 7.2% in 2015, the average cost per claim for the year was up 16%. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims nationwide was $37,214 in 2015, compared with $32,072 in 2014 and $27,862 in 2013.

"The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 94% from 2003 to 2015, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing," said Loretta Worters, a vice president with the institute.

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Rosalie Donlon

Rosalie Donlon is the editor in chief of ALM's insurance and tax publications, including NU Property & Casualty magazine and NU PropertyCasualty360.com. You can contact her at [email protected].