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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 Nationwide, 2003-2017 (1)

Year Value of claims ($ millions) Number of claims Average cost per claim
2003 $324.2 16,919 $19,162
2004 318.9 15,630 20,406
2005 321.1 14,295 22,464
2006 322.4 14,661 21,987
2007 356.2 14,531 24,511
2008 387.0 15,823 24,461
2009 412.0 16,586 24,840
2010 412.6 15,770 26,166
2011 490.8 16,695 29,396
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
Percent change, 2016-2017 14.0% 2.2% 11.5%
Percent change, 2003-2017 111.7% 9.5% 93.4%

(1) Includes other dog-related injuries.

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 With Estimated Number And Cost Of Dog Bite Claims, 2017 (1)

Rank State Number of claims Average cost per claim Value of claims ($ millions)
1 California 2,228 $40,563 $90.4
2 Florida 1,345 44,700 60.1
3 Pennsylvania 1,002 26,486 26.5
4 New York 957 43,479 41.6
5 Ohio 932 24,795 23.1
6 Texas 929 35,562 33.0
7 Illinois 901 36,844 33.2
8 Michigan 734 38,798 28.5
9 New Jersey 686 43,652 29.9
10 Minnesota 486 29,873 14.5
  Top 10 10,200 $37,346 $380.9
  Other states 8,322 $36,690 $305.3
  Total United States 18,522 $37,051 $686.3

(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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