17 May 2011

California tops the list for dog bite insurance claims

State Farm Insurance has released their numbers for dog bite claims filed in 2010 and California tops the list with 369 claims totaling $11.3 million in payouts.

The rest of the top ten are as follows:
2. Illinois, 317 claims, $9.7 million paid
3. Ohio, 215 claims, $5.7 million paid
4. Texas, 202 claims, $3.7 million paid
5. Michigan, 166 claims, $5.2 million paid
6. Pennsylvania, 155 claims, $3.9 million paid
7. Florida, 146 claims, $5.6 million paid
8. Minnesota, 139 claims, $3.4 million paid
9. New York, 119 claims, $4.3 million paid
10. Indiana, 114 claims, $1.8 million paid

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

State Farm says that, “It’s not the breed, it’s the bite,” and points out that, in all states but one, 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.”

According to their website however, “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.”

It would be interesting to find out how many of those 215 dog bites that resulted in claims last year in Ohio were by pit bulls.

I could be wrong, but I would venture to guess not many.

Sara Best | @shbest
Sara was literally born into the animal welfare movement. While growing up, her father worked with various organizations on campaigns from the Canadian seal hunt to the slaughter of dogs in the Philippines to the ivory trade in Africa. Eventually, Sara became involved in animal protection projects herself. Now she is a writer living near Toronto, a mom to two little omnivores and married to one dedicated carnivore. Visit Sara's blog.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/dahlstroms