State Farm Releases Top 10 States for Dog Bite Claims

Courtesy/State Farm
State Farm Insurance just released its annual Top 10 states for dog bite claims for 2012.
The company also is partnering with the USPS and AVMA during National Dog Bite Prevention Week® to provide information to prevent dog bites.
While not in the Top 10 for 2012, New Mexico reported 25 dog bite incidents that resulted in claims in New Mexico – nearly double the number of claims reported for 2011 – that number was 13. The average claims cost was just under $30,000 per incident – a cost for which the dog’s owner could be responsible if they lack insurance coverage. Moreover this is an issue that affects residents all over the state and the severity of the incidents is much greater in terms of the human toll – more than just the monetary cost of these claims.

Top 10 States for State Farm Dog Bite Claims in 2012:


Number of claims

Claims paid (estimated)

1.     California


$17.1 million

2.     Illinois


$9.0 million

3.     Texas


$4.3 million

4.     Ohio


$5.0 million

5.     Pennsylvania


$4.5 million

6.     Michigan


$4.6 million

7.     Indiana


$2.7 million

8.     Florida


$7.1 million

9.     Georgia


$3.3 million

10.  New York


$6.4 million

In 2012, State Farm®  had 3,670 dog bite claims nationally and paid more than $108 million as a result. Just like people, dogs have their good days and bad days but for the 4.7 million dog bite victims each year, a dogs’ bad day can result in serious injury or even death. This is a slight decrease compared to the number of dog bite claims in 2011 (3,750 claims) and a slight decrease in the amount paid as a result of dog bite claims in 2011 at $109 million.

Because dog bites continue to be a serious health and safety issue, State Farm® has joined the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (May 19-25, 2013) Coalition to reinforce the importance of pet owner responsibility and the need for continued public education regarding dog bite prevention. Consider these alarming statistics provided by National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition members:

  • The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates the U.S. dog population was approximately 70 million at the end of 2011, down from approximately 72 million in 2006, yet the number of dog bite incidents hasn’t decreased.
  • Prevent the Bite, a nonprofit organization devoted to dog bite prevention through education, reports that from 2001 – 2011, dog bites were the ninth leading cause of nonfatal unintentional injury to children 5-9 (512,638) and tenth for children 10-14 (412,895).
  • The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that in 2012, insurers across the country paid nearly $489 million in dog bite claims.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that more than half of all dog bite victims are children; approximately 400,000 receive medical attention every year.
  • The American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) reports that there were 27,752 reconstructive procedures performed in 2012 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
  • The United States Postal Service® (USPS) reports that 5,879 postal carriers were bitten or attacked by dogs in 2012. That is an increase of 274 dog bite incidents compared to 2011.
  • The American Humane Association (AHA) reports that unsupervised newborns are 370 times more likely than an adult to be killed by a dog. Interactions between children and dogs should always be monitored to ensure safety for both the dog and the child.

As a member of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® Coalition, State Farm urges caution around all dogs, including family pets. Prevent the Bite and DINOS: Dogs in Need of Space provide posters and safety information to teach children how to correctly approach a dog. The American Humane Association offers a free online booklet called Pet Meets Baby that provides families with valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a dog. Remember, a responsible dog owner should:

  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Children are often bitten by a dog in their own household.
  • Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
  • Never put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
  • Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
  • Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
  • Regular veterinary visits are essential to regulating the health of your dog. A sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
  • Be alert. If someone approaches you and your dog while out on a walk, caution them to wait before petting the dog, giving your pet time to be comfortable with the stranger.

A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health, and the victim’s behavior. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed. That’s why State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.

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