Dog bite claims impacting insurance rates

Amarillo, TX - Owning a dog in Texas could make your homeowner's insurance go up.

Last year alone, insurers dished out more than five million dollars for dog bite claims in Texas and State Farm warns the increase in attacks could also mean an increase in insurance costs.

"It's been consistent for many years, somewhere between five and six hundred bites. We've seen them go over 600, closer to 700," Shannon Barlow with the City of Amarillo's animal control center said.

The number of reported dog attacks in Texas continue to rise.

"Specifically in Texas, we noticed the trend of it increasing from last year and we're really not sure what was behind that increase," State Farm Representative, Patti Kelly, said. "However, we do want to raise awareness in Texas that dog bites are on the rise and we think folks need to be aware of that."

If you are a homeowner, it could translate to higher insurance costs.

"If you have claims filed against you, you know, that can impact your rates," Kelly said. "...which is another reason why we wants to raise awareness around this issue."

The cost of covering a dog bite claim is not cheap. In Texas, it is normally around $23,000. State Farm Insurance reports around 60 percent of the victims are children.

"Dogs running loose, they knock them down, they bite them, you know, a lot of things like that happening," Barlow said.

Animal control says it sees more attacks occur around this time of year because more kids are outside. Insurance companies advise taking extra precautions, like keeping your fences in shape. Insurers say doing so will help keep more kids safe and keep your rate from going up.

If you are wondering how owning a dog could impact your homeowner's insurance, State Farm suggests calling your local agent so they can look over your policy.