Dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2012, costing more than $489 million, according to the industry’s Insurance Information Institute (III) and insurer State Farm.
While the number of claims fell by 1.4 percent in 2012—the first decline since 2010—the costs of settling dog bite claims continued to rise, by 1.2 percent, last year, according to an analysis of homeowners insurance data by the III.
The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $29,752 in 2012 compared to $29,396 in 2011.
State Farm identified the top 10 states for dog bite claims paid with California and Illinois leading the pack. (See list below.)
The III said that the decline in the number of claims and increase in claim costs essentially offset one another so that total costs associated with dog bite claims in 2012 were virtually unchanged—down a mere 0.2 percent in 2012, the group said.
The rise in claims costs by even a small amount suggests that medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs are still on the upswing, according to the III.
ESTIMATED NUMBER AND COST OF DOG BITE CLAIMS, 2003-2012
|Year||Value of claims ($ millions)||Number of claims||Average cost per claim|
|Percent change, 2011-2012||-0.2%||-1.4%||1.2%|
|Percent change, 2003-2012||51.4%||-1.6%||55.3%|
Source: Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.
State Farm identified the top 10 states for dog bite claims in 2012.
Top 10 States for State Farm Dog Bite Claims in 2012
|State||Number of claims||Claims paid (estimated)|
|10.||New York||116||$6.4 million|
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