Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2017, costing almost $700 million.
That’s according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States.
An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,522 in 2017 compared to 18,122 in 2016, which was a 2.2 percent increase.
The average cost per claim increased by 11.5 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $37,051 in 2017 compared with $33,230 in 2016.
“The increase in the 2017 average cost per claim could be attributed to an increase in severity of injuries,” said Kristin Palmer, chief communications officer with the I.I.I. “But the average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 90 percent from 2003 to 2017 due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs.”
California continued to have the largest number of claims in the United States at 2,228 in 2017, an increase from 1,934 in 2016. The state with the second highest number of claims was Florida at 1,345. Florida had the highest average cost per claim at $44,700. The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not only to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists, the elderly, etc., which can result in injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.