Filed Under:Claims, Catastrophe & Restoration

Top 10 States for Dog Bite Claims

It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and last year 3,670 State Farm customers were wearing Milk-Bone underwear.

Just like people, dogs have their good days and bad days. Dog bites can be serious, resulting in severe injuries or even death, as well as emotional damage. As a result, bites can also carry a considerable price tag.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012, costing more than $489 million. State Farm alone reports it paid more than $108 million as a result of dog bites in 2012. 

Click “next” to see State Farm’s top 10 states for dog bite claims in 2012.


10. New York

Number of claims: 116

Claims paid: $6.4 million

The number of dog bite claims in 2012 is a slight decrease compared to the number of dog bite claims in 2011 (3,750 claims). 

9. Georgia

Number of claims: 121

Claims paid: $3.3 million

Prevent the Bite, a nonprofit organization devoted to dog bite prevention through education, reports that from 2001 to 2011, dog bites were the ninth leading cause of nonfatal unintentional injury to children ages five to nine (512,638) and 10h for children ages 10 to 14 (412,895).

8. Florida

Number of claims: 123

Claims paid: $7.1 million

The I.I.I. estimates that in 2012, insurers across the country paid nearly $489 million in dog bite claims.

7. Indiana

Number of claims: 148

Claims paid: $2.7 million

The United States Postal Service reports that 5,879 postal carriers were bitten or attacked by dogs in 2012. That is an increase of 274 dog bite incidents compared to 2011.

6. Michigan

Number of claims: 151

Claims paid: $4.6 million

The American Humane Association reports that unsupervised newborns are 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog. Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure safety for both the dog and the child.

5. Pennsylvania

Number of claims: 165

Claims paid: $4.5 million

A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health, and the victim’s behavior. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.

4. Ohio

Number of claims: 235

Claims paid: $5 million

A sick or injured dog is more likely to bite. Regular veterinary visits are essential to regulating the health of your dog.

3. Texas

Number of claims: 236

Claims paid: $4.3 million

State Farm recommends socializing dogs as young puppies so they feel at ease around people and other animals, making them less likely to bite.

2. Illinois

Number of claims: 337

Claims paid: $9 million

Another way to prevent violent behavior in your dog is to play non-aggressive games with him or her, such as “go fetch.” Playing aggressive games like “tug-of-war” can encourage inappropriate behavior.

1. California

Number of claims: 451

Claims paid: $17.1 million

An analysis of homeowners insurance data by I.I.I. found that while the number of dog bite claims fell by 1.4 percent in 2012, the costs of settling dog bite claims continued to rise, by 1.2 percent, last year. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $29,752 in 2012 compared with $29,396 in 2011.

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