Dog Bite Homeowners Liability Claims Nationwide Increased 18 Percent; California, Florida And New York Lead Nation In Number of Claims

National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Is April 9-15

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New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org

NEW YORK, April 6, 2017 — Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2016, costing in excess of $600 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm®, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States.

 

An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,123 in 2016, compared to 15,352 in 2015 -– an 18 percent increase.  The average cost per claim, however, decreased by more than 10 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $33,230 in 2016, compared with $37,214 in 2015 and $32,072 in 2014.

 

“The decrease in the 2016 average cost per claim could be attributed to a decrease in severity of injuries,” said Loretta Worters, a vice president with the I.I.I.  “But the average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 70 percent from 2003 to 2016, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.” 

Estimated Number and Cost of Dog Bite Claims, 2012-2021 (1)

 

Year Value of claims
($ millions)
Number of
claims
Average cost
per claim (2)
2012 $489.7 $16,459 $29,752
2013 483.7 17,359 27,862
2014 530.8 16,550 32,072
2015 571.3 15,352 37,214
2016 602.2 18,123 33,230
2017 686.3 18,522 37,051
2018 665.4 17,520 37,981
2019 800.8 18,236 43,912
2020 872.1 17,597 49,558
2021 881.9 17,989 49,025
Percent change, 2020-2021 1.1% 2.2% -1.1%
Percent change, 2012-2021 44.0% 9.0% 39.0%

(1) Includes other dog-related injuries.
(2) Calculated from unrounded data.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

View Archived Tables

 
California continued to have the largest number of claims in the U.S. at 1,934 in 2016, an increase from 1,684 in 2015. California also had the highest claims paid out at $76 million. The state with the second highest number of claims was Florida at 1,325.  The state with the highest average cost per claim was New York, at a whopping $55,671 per claim.
 

Top 10 States By Estimated Number and Cost of Dog Bite Claims, 2021 (1)

 

Rank State Number of claims Average cost per claim Value of claims ($ millions)
1 California 2,026 $59,561 $120.7
2 Florida 1,478 54,820 81.0
3 Texas 1,003 39,884 40.0
4 New York 900 68,203 61.4
5 Michigan 892 48,258 43.0
6 Illinois 844 56,292 47.5
7 Pennsylvania 777 47,353 36.8
8 Ohio 732 41,499 30.4
9 New Jersey 611 49,981 30.5
10 Arizona 489 43,059 21.1
  Top 10 9,752 $52,543 $512.4
  Other 8,237 $44,860 $369.5
  Total United States 17,989 $49,025 $881.9

(1) Includes other dog-related injuries that have impacted claims such as fractures or other blunt force trauma injuries.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

View Archived Tables

 

For more state specific information, go to the I.I.I.’s interactive map.

 

Be A Responsible Dog Owner

 

National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (April 9-15, 2017), is an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue. 

 

Even dogs that are normally docile may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. However, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place. The most dangerous dogs are those that fall victim to human shortcomings such as poor training, irresponsible ownership and breeding practices that foster viciousness.

 

“The family veterinarian should be the first stop for any pet owner with behavioral concerns, said Dr. Melissa Bain, AVMA member and specialist in animal behavior.  “They can advise you as to whether there is a medical component for which medication may be an appropriate element of an integrated treatment program; and whether or not a referral to a behavior specialist is warranted.”

 

For dog bite prevention tips, click here or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #preventdogbites.

RELATED LINKS 

 

The following organizations are committed to educating Americans about dog bite prevention:

American Academy of Pediatrics

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists

American Humane

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

United States Postal Service (USPS)

Victoria Stilwell Foundation

 

The I.I.I. has a full library of educational videos on its YouTube Channel. Information about I.I.I. mobile apps can be found here.

 

THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.

 

Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-5500; www.iii.org

 

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