California Leads Nation in Dog Bite Claims, State Farm Says

May 10, 2011

California leads the nation in the number of claims made and paid out by State Farm Insurance for dog bites, according to the Bloomington, Ill.-based insurer. The insurer recorded 369 claims were made, and $11.3 million was paid out in the Golden State in 2010.

In 2009, State Farm paid out $90.1 million in dog bite liability claims in the United States. That compares to $83.2 million in 2008, $84.6 million in 2007 and $78.1 million in 2006. In terms of the number of claims, it was more than 3,500 in 2009, which is similar to in previous years. That brings the average cost per claim to about $25,000 last year. In 2008, dog bite claims represented one-tenth of 1 percent (0.1 percent) of all claims.

State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns with the exception of the state of Ohio, which has determined that the pit bull meets the definition of a “vicious dog.” “We believe there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite,” the company said.

Children account for more than 60 percent of all dog bite victims, State Farm said. Of the 33 dog bites that resulted in death last year, 20 of the fatalities were young children, the company said.

The top 10 state for State Farm dog bite claims in 2010 were:

  1. California: 369 claims, $11.3 million claims paid
  2. Illinois: 317 claims, $9.7 million claims paid
  3. Ohio: 215 claims, $5.7 million claims paid
  4. Texas: 202 claims, $3.7 million claims paid
  5. Michigan: 166 claims, $5.2 million claims paid
  6. Pennsylvania: 155 claims, $3.9 million claims paid
  7. Florida: 146 claims, $5.6 million claims paid
  8. Minnesota: 139 claims, $3.4 million claims paid
  9. New York: 119 claims, $4.3 million claims paid
  10. Indiana: 114 claims, $1.8 million claims paid.

Source: State Farm

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