Your may think your dog’s bark is bigger than his bite, but there is new research that suggests his bite might just be big enough to drive up your insurance premiums.

According to a recent analysis of homeowners insurance by the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites were responsible for costing American insurance companies an estimated $479 million in paid liability claims during 2011.

The institute reports that dog bites made up nearly a third of all homeowner liability claims, which is up 48% since 2003.

The data also states that the average cost of a dog bite claim has increased about 54% from 2004 to 2011, costing an average payout of $29,396 per claim.

State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the US, paid over $100 million on nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011.

According to the institute, medical costs and judgments awarded to plaintiffs have all beaten inflation.

[USA Today]