To the tune of over $400 million a year? Come on, gimme a break. THE POODLE BY-EE-ITES THE POODLE CHEWS IT Dog Bite Claims Top $400M in 2009; Rise 30% in Last 6 Years Dog bite claims cost the insurance industry $412 million in 2009, an increase of 6.4 percent from 2008. Dog bites account for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims paid out in 2009, says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the average cost of dog bite claims was $24,840 in 2009, up slightly from $24,461 in 2008. Over the six-year period since 2003, the cost of these claims has risen nearly 30 percent. Additionally, the number of claims increased by 4.8 percent to 16,586 in 2009 from 15,823 in 2008. "The rise in dog bite claims over the last seven years (2003-2009) can be attributed to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which have risen well above the rate of inflation in recent years," said Loretta Worters, vice president at the I.I.I.