According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, the nation’ largest writer of homeowners insurance the cost of the average claim from dog bites and other injuries is on the rise. I.I.I.’s analysis of homeowners insurance data found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased 4.7 % in 2014. However, the average cost per dog bite claim was up 15% to $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013.
The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67% from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing.
With 1,867 claims California continues to lead the list of states with the largest number of claims, followed by Ohio with 1,009 claims and New York with 965 claims, although NY state is leading with the highest average cost per claim in the country of $56,628.
The trend in higher costs per claim is attributable not simply to dog bites but also to dogs knocking down children, cyclists and senior citizens —all of which I.I.I. says can result in fractures and other injuries that increase the severity of the losses. Experts say that even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. The most dangerous dogs are those that suffer from poor training, irresponsible owners and breeding practices that foster viciousness.