Although the number of dog bite claims has remained relatively constant, the dollars paid out in claims has soared.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and reported on by Time.com, dog bite claims totaled $490 million dollars in 2012, which is more than one third of the total liability claims paid out.  That's a pretty staggering number, don't you think?  As a reference the total dollars claimed in 2003 was $324.2 million.

The total number of claims was 16,459, which was a bit under the 2011 total of 16,695.  The low over the last decade was 2005 with 14,295.

The average claim in 2003 was $19,162.  In 2012 it was $29,752.

Is your next question, "does this affect a person's homeowner's insurance rate?"  Yes it does, especially if you own a dog that has bitten someone.

Some insurance companies may add a surcharge to your policy for simply owning a dog, but you can guarantee that if your dog bites someone and there is a claim, you will be paying more for your homeowner's insurance.  Some companies may not issue the policy if you own an aggressive breed such as a rottweiler or a pit bull.

A couple of final thoughts to ponder…the people who are bitten the most by dogs are the elderly, children and postal carriers.  And the city with the most reported number of dog bites of postal carriers…Los Angeles.