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Dog Owners Should Make Sure They’re Covered For Dog Bites

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Stefanie Newcomb with Aeris Burt and their dogs (credit: CBS)

Stefanie Newcomb with Aeris Burt and their dogs (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado ranks higher than most states in an unusual category — insurance claims for dog bites.

Denver is the eighth worst when it comes to dogs attacking postal workers. Dog owners should check with their insurance company to make sure they are covered if their dog bites somebody.

By just looking at 6 ½-year-old Aeris Burt you’d never know how much she’s healed in the last two months from a dog bite.

“I only cried for five minutes,” she said.

Five minutes of terror when a dog bit her in the mouth.

“The dog ripped her pretty good, so she had this cut right here. But the doctor lined up both lip lines and then did the stitches on both top and bottom, so it would grow and still be a beautiful line,” Aeris’ mother Stefanie Newcomb said.

The dog belonged to a family friend, and it was a dog Aeris knew well.

“I was playing with him and then he didn’t want me to play with him anymore so then he bit me,” Aeris said.

It turned out dog bites are covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there were nearly $490 million in dog bite claims last year. The average cost per claim almost $30,000. Colorado ranks 19th in the country for the most dog bite claims.

That liability coverage can help pay for the damage or injuries related to that person’s dog bite or attack,” said Angela Thorpe, State Farm media relations specialist. “This can happen anywhere.”

One out of five dog bites requires medical attention.

Aeris Burt (credit: CBS)

Aeris Burt (credit: CBS)

Homeowners and renters insurance policies normally provide at least $100,000 in benefits for dog bite victims. Higher limits are available at an additional cost.

“A possible settlement is being talked about,” Newcomb said.

Aeris is doing quite well considering it’s only been eight weeks since her attack, but you can still see where her stitches were.

“I’m sure this little scar on top of her lip will stay but it could’ve been worse,” Newcomb said. “We’re glad it’s just this.”

Although Aeris does seem to be the same with her own dogs, her mother says she’s still teaching her children how to be around dogs.

More than half of all dog bite victims are children.

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