State Farm® Dog Bite Claims Decreased in 2018
National Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 7-13, 2019
Owning a pet is a big responsibility. Dog owners are responsible not only for the health and safety of their pet, but also protecting people from injury. Most dogs will never bite but it is important to remember that any dog, regardless of breed or type, can bite under certain circumstances. Over the last year, dog bite claims have decreased. In 2018, State Farm paid $123 million dollars for 3,280 dog bite and injury claims. This is a decrease of 9% compared to the number of dog bite claims in 2017 and a decrease of 7% in the amount paid.
State Farm is a member of the National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (April 7-13, 2019) Coalition. The insurer joins the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), and American Humane to draw attention to dog bites and ways to reduce injuries to people and pets. State Farm is also one of the few insurance companies in the country that does not have a breed restriction list and does not exclude homeowner or renter insurance coverage because of the breed of dog owned. Under the right circumstances any dog might bite.
Information from the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition
- American Veterinary Medical Association estimates there are approximately 78 million dogs in U.S. homes and each year 4.5 million people are bitten or injured by dogs. “Even the gentlest dog can bite if they are in pain, feel threatened, or are competing for resources such as food or space,” said Dr. John de Jong, AVMA President. “Not only is it important to understand how dogs behave, it is important to understand how a dog may interpret our behavior.” AVMA’s ‘Jimmy the Dog’ video series lets preschoolers look at how a dog might interpret different scenarios.
- Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reports that dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for nearly one third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2018, costing $675 million. An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide decreased to 17,297 in 2018, compared to 18,522 in 2017– a 6.6 percent decrease. The average cost per claim increased by 5.3 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $39,017. in 2018, compared with $37,051 in 2017.
- American Humane says that dog bites are a double tragedy affecting both people and animals. “A dog bite can have a devastating effect not only on the victim, but on the dog, who may be euthanized,” says Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of American Humane. Because of the high risk involving dogs, babies, and children, American Humane offers a free online booklet called Pet Meets Baby that provides families with valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a dog.
Professional perspective from Dr. Marty Becker and Victoria Stilwell
State Farm believes that educating dog owners about being responsible will help reduce dog-related injuries. The insurance company focuses on educating people and pet professionals about dog body language and safely interacting with dogs by working with two of the most prominent experts in the field of dog training and veterinary medicine; celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell and America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker.
“Dogs don’t just bite ‘out of the blue’. Most bites are a perfect storm of situation and circumstance, but because dogs’ physical and vocal language is frequently misinterpreted or signals are missed, people often put themselves or others at risk and dogs are blamed as a result,” says Stilwell. “Education is the only way to reduce dog bite incidents in this country, which is why I am proud to stand alongside State Farm and other members of the coalition, to raise awareness about this issue and to educate people about dog bite prevention.”
“As a society we increasingly consider dogs to be family members and rely on them for unconditional love,” says Dr. Becker. “A clearer understanding of canine behavior and how our own actions can make us safer is essential if we want to continue to benefit from the presence of dogs in our daily lives.”
Tips on being a responsible dog owner
- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Children are often bitten by dogs in their own household.
- Make sure your pet is socialized so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Walk and exercise your dog on a leash to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Regular veterinary visits are essential to regulating the health of your dog. A sick or injured dog is more likely to bite.
- Be alert. If someone approaches you and your dog, caution them to wait before petting the dog. Give your pet time to be comfortable with the stranger.
- Understand and respond to changes in your dogs’ body language. Look at the eyes, ears, tail, and posture to know when your dog may be happy, fearful, or angry.
The mission of State Farm is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its nearly 19,000 agents and approximately 58,000 employees serve approximately 84 million policies and accounts – over 81 million auto, fire, life, health and commercial policies and over 2 million bank and investment planning services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 36 on the 2019 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.