State Farm Lists Top Ten States for Dog Bite Claims

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Bloomington, IL, May 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Each year, almost five million people are bitten or attacked by dogs. Dog bites are a serious public health problem that can cause both physical and emotional damage to victims and considerable cost to communities.

State Farm paid more than $90 million as a result of the nearly 3,500 dog bite claims in 2010. This is one of the reasons that State Farm recognizes National Dog Bite Prevention Week, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association during the week of May 15 – 21.

Top 10 states for State Farm Dog Bite Claims in 2010

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

The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that in 2009, insurers across the country paid more than $412 million in dog bite claims.

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. State Farm *does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns but does require policyholders to answer questions about their dogs’ history on a homeowner insurance application.

*The state of Ohio has determined that the pit bull meets the definition of a “vicious dog”.As a result, the owners of pit bulls or any American Staffordshire terrier mix are subject to specific requirements to protect the public from injury by these animals. State Farm does not provide coverage under its homeowner’s policy in the state for this breed of dog.

Children are frequent victims of dog bites. In fact, 60 percent of all dog bite victims are children under the age of 12. Tragically, of the 33 dog bites that resulted in death last year, 20 of these fatalities were young children.

In addition to stressing responsible pet ownership, State Farm encourages responsible behavior and caution around dogs, including family pets. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.

  • NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
  • Be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations. Start teaching young children — including toddlers — to be careful around pets.
  • Children must be taught NOT to approach strange dogs.
  • Always ask permission from a dog’s owner before petting any dog.

For more information about dog bite prevention, visit the State Farm Learning Center or the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Interview opportunity

Visit the State Farm Newsroom and click on the video tab for interviews with two children that were attacked by dogs and required reconstructive surgery to repair the facial injuries. Additional video footage from the interviews is also available at the newsroom.

Heather Paul, State Farm Corporate Public Affairs, (309) 766-0922
About State Farm®

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32 thoughts on “State Farm Lists Top Ten States for Dog Bite Claims”

  1. If Insurance companies provide an assessment/evaluate your dog – no matter the breed – with simple and basic temperament testing, they would know which household to deny insurance or add a premium – instead of discriminating against breed!

  2. Wow, Ohio is #3 and yet we have BSL at the state level and in several local municipalities …hmmm, how are those laws working for ya Ohio???? PFT!

  3. @Maresa..I had a neighbor, that I did not know well, walk into my yard unannounced, lean over my fence to pet my golden. My aussie nipped her in the arm…did not break the skin but did leave a nasty bruise. The fence is 10+ ft from the street. Now, who really was at fault here…a startled dog or the neighbor that did not have permission to be in my yard? We know who would have been at fault if they had decided to file a claim.

  4. @Chris Ojar, Liberty Mutual has never asked me about my pets. And I suspect my big tomcat is more likely to bite than my dogs! playfully of course but NOT painless.

  5. I didn’t see any info on how these bites occurred. Children often get bitten because they play too roughly w/ the dog and aren’t supervised properly. Also, if someone acts aggressively in either tone of voice or w/ agitated gestures, a dog might sense a threat to itself or its owner, even if the individual didn’t intend a threat. Most ‘bad dogs’ have bad owners.

  6. Griffin, exactly! It is just like the idiots who tease the wild animals at zoos, the wild animal is approached, defends itself…then must be punished. Dummies should not be rewarded for their cruelty!

  7. and California has a lot of designer dogs that are treated like human babies so they are more likely to have the neurosis to bite


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