Top 10 States for Dog Bite Claims

May 11, 2011

State Farm Insurance Co. has released its top 10 states for claims involving dog bites, with California on top in number of claims and Florida recording the highest cost per claim.

The Bloomington-based State Farm reported that California led the nation in dog bite claims at 369 in 2010, which represented a total payout of $11.3 million. Ranking second on the list is Illinois with 317 claims for a total cost of $9.7 million.

But Florida, which ranked seventh on the list, registered the highest costs per claim at $38,356 as opposed to the average claim of around $30,000 for California and Illinois.

State Farm says it doesn’t refuse insurance based on dog breeds, but does require homeowners to answer questions about their dogs’ history on an application for coverage. The one exception is in the state of Ohio, which has determined that pit bulls meet the definition of a “vicious dog,” and therefore the insurer excludes them under its homeowners policies.

Despite the refusal to cover pit bulls, Ohio ranks third in the number of dog bite claims at 215 claims, representing in total payouts of $5.7 million.

Rounding out the top 10 states is Texas at number four with 202 claims and $3.7 million in claims, Michigan with 166 claims at $5.2 million in claims and Pennsylvania with 155 claims at $3.9 million in claims.

Minnesota reported 139 claims at $3.4 million in claims costs, New York at 119 at $4.3 million in claims and Indiana at 114 claims for a reported $1.8 million in cost per claims.

All told, State Farm paid out $90 million nationwide in 2010 as the result of 3,500 claims, 33 of which resulted in fatalities.

The Insurance Information Institute estimated that insurers paid out some $412 million in dog bit claims in 2009, the most recent information available.

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