Triple-I: U.S. Home Insurers Paid Out Nearly $900M in Dog-Related Claims in 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York Press Office: Loretta Worters, 917-208-8842; lorettaw@iii.org 

 

NEW YORK, April 12, 2022 — Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2021, costing $881 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the U.S.

An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the Triple-I found the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 17,989, compared to 17,567 in 2020 – a 2.2 percent increase.  The average cost per claim decreased 1.1 percent from 2020-2021, but the overall 10-year trend was 39 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $49,025 in 2021, compared with $50,245 in 2020.

“There was a slight decrease in the 2021 average cost per claim,” said Janet Ruiz, CPCU, AIM, Director – Strategic Communication, Triple-I.  “However, there was a steep increase in that cost over the past 10 years, no doubt due to increased medical costs, as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.”  Ruiz noted the value of claims also has risen 44 percent over that same period.

As pet owners return to the workplace or school, pets will be left home alone. Behavioral issues, such as separation anxiety, could result in aggressive and destructive behavior. This could be a problem for dogs adopted during the pandemic, as well as pets now used to their owners being at home.

Number and Cost of Dog Bite Claims (And Other Dog-Related Injuries*), 2012-2021

 

Year Value of claims
($ millions)
Number of
claims
Average cost
per claim
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%

Source: Insurance Information Institute, State Farm®.

*Claims costs are attributable not only to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, and the elderly, which can result in costly injuries.

California continued to have the largest number of claims in the U.S., at 2,026 in 2021, a slight decrease from 2,121 in 2020. California also had the highest value of claims in 2021, at $120.7 million, and the highest average cost per claim in 2021, at $59,561. The state with the second-highest number of claims last year was Florida, at 1,478.

Estimated Number and Cost of Dog Bite Claims (And Other Dog-Related Injuries*), 2021 State Results

 

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
  Remaining States 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®.

Be A Responsible Dog Owner

National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 10-16, 2022) 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.

RELATED LINKS 

Infographic:     National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 10-16, 2022)

Videos:            Dog Bite Prevention

                       Four Tips to Keep Your Dog from Causing Any Harm


The Triple-I has a full library of educational videos on its YouTube Channel.

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