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Top 5 States for Dog Bite Claims


WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero

UPDATED: JUNE 06, 2022 | 1 MIN READ

Owning a dog comes with challenges since millions of people are bitten every year. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies usually cover dog bite expenses. However, if the claim exceeds the limit, you are responsible for the rest of the damages. This article covers the top states for dog bite claims by the overall average cost per state and also looks at whether or not other factors, such as breed, age, and upbringing, are factors that contribute to more frequent dog attacks.

Table of Contents

  1. Top States For Dog Bite Claims
  2. Reasons Behind Dog Bites
  3. Dog Bite Claim FAQs
  4. What State Has the Most Pit Bull Attacks?
  5. What’s the Average Settlement For a Dog Bite Claim?
  6. What Breed Of Dog Attacks the Most?
  7. What Breed Of Dog Is the Safest?
  8. Can My Home Insurance Policy Get Canceled If I Have a Dog Bite Claim?
  9. Filing a Dog Bite Liability Claim

Top States For Dog Bite Claims

New York (and California)

The 2019 dog bite claim data from the Insurance Information Institute (iii) indicates New York has the highest average cost per dog bite claim. However, that doesn’t mean it has the most number of claims – California holds that title. The average price per claim in New York is close to $56,000, with the number of claims less than 900 and a total claim payout of almost $50 million.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is next in line for dog bite claims. The number of claims is substantially less than in New York, and the average cost per claim is just over $54,000. The state’s total payout is slightly higher than $5.3 million, though, which is higher than that of New York.

Florida

The next highest state for highest average dog bite claims is Florida, with a whopping number of claims close to 1,270 each year. While the total number of claims is less than that in New York and New Hampshire, the total claim payout exceeds the two other states at almost $68 million. The average cost per claim is less, though, at around $53,600, so they are the third state on the list.

Arkansas

Arkansas sits in the number four spot on the top states for dog bite claims. Their average number of claims is close to 140 each year, with costs of approximately $52,500. The total claim payouts are at $7.2 million.

Vermont

Vermont finds itself at number five on the list of highest average claims for dog bites. The total cost per claim reaches close to $52,800, but only a small number of claims are filed each year – less than 40. The total claim payout is less than $2 million.

Reasons Behind Dog Bites

Numerous factors come into play when it comes to determining how friendly or aggressive a dog breed actually is, and in turn, how dog-friendly home insurance companies view the risk.

Physical Characteristics and Breed

Some breeds may have more of a predisposition for being aggressive. For instance, Pit Bulls have the highest number of attacks recorded. However, the breed is not the most significant factor in dog biting. Physical characteristics of certain breeds can pose a more valid reason behind aggressive behavior. 

For example, smaller dogs such as a Dachsund may bite more often than other breeds. But, their smaller size and power mean that a bite from such a small breed would not cause as much damage as, say, a German Shepherd, which is far more extensive and more muscular. As a result, minor injuries are more likely to go unreported, especially if they do not require medical attention.

Gender of the dog

The sex of the dog also plays a role in biting. A study posted in the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association reported that male dogs are 6.2 times more likely to bite than female dogs. The bites also tend to be more severe.

Neglect and Training

Unfortunately, another significant reason behind dog bites is the owner’s neglect, cruelty, or lack of training. Intentional abuse or neglect leads dogs to feel anxious, threatened, and scared, and they are far more likely to attack out of self-preservation and protection because they do not feel safe.

Training a dog to be obedient and obey commands also prevents dogs from acting out aggressively because they are taught to stay calm and listen to their owner in tense situations. That’s why putting your dog in an obedience training class is a great dog bite prevention tactic.

Spaying or Neutering

One last reason behind dogs that bite is not being fixed. Dogs who aren’t neutered or spayed are more likely to attack because they exhibit more territorial instincts. Therefore, it is best to have your dog spayed or neutered when your veterinarian advises.

Dog Bite Claim FAQs

What state has the most pit bull attacks?

The National Pit Bull Victim Awareness site reports that pit bull attacks are the highest in Nebraska. Other states with high rates of Pit Bull attacks include Oregon, Washington, and Florida.

What’s the average settlement for a dog bite claim?

The average settlement for a dog bite claim is about $50,000.

What breed of dog attacks the most?

Statistically, the Pit Bull is the breed that attacks more than any other dog since it has the highest number of confirmed attacks. However, remember that this is by recorded data only. There are likely many minor dog attacks that go unreported.

What breed of dog is the safest?

According to the American Kennel Club, the best family dog and safest dog breed is the Labrador Retriever. It is also the most popular dog breed in the United States.

Can my home insurance policy get canceled if I have a dog bite claim?

Your homeowner’s insurance liability policy covers your first bite claim, but they may exclude the dog from further coverage. In addition, there is a possibility that they may cancel your homeowner’s policy at the renewal time if you have a dog bite claim on your record.

Filing a Dog Bite Liability Claim

Dog owners are liable for injuries that their pets cause. First, you should contact your local police or animal control department to file a report of the dog bite (which aids in protecting rights and building a case for liability), and of course, seek immediate medical care for the person injured. Then, report the dog bite to your insurance company to file a claim.

If you have concerns about your dog being aggressive or just want to be prepared in case of an incident, you should contact your home insurance company and find out what happens should you need to file a dog bite claim. 

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