Key Findings:

  • New York, New Hampshire and Florida tops in the nation for average cost per dog bite claim.
  • California, Florida and Texas have the highest number of dog bite claims in 2019
  • Average cost per dog bite claim in the nation $43,653. 

Most dog owners are under the assumption that their sweet dog would never bite anyone. While unlikely, there’s always a chance they could, and you’d be liable for it. Dog bite claims are more common and far more costly than you think. In 2019, there were 17,866 dog bite claims in the U.S., totaling $802 million in total claim value, up $129 million from 2018.

The totals and frequency of dog bites are high enough to warrant significant attention to protecting yourself from a dog bite claim. Rising medical costs and increased settlements are making dog bite claims all the more costly. Some states are more costly than others for a dog bite claim. The average settlement from a dog bite claim was $43,653 in 2019.

We here at QuoteWizard analyzed 2019 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm® dog bite claim data to see which states had the highest average cost per claim. Rankings 1 (highest) to 50 (lowest) are based on average costs per dog bite claim in the state. Additional figures show the total number of dog bite claims and the total dollar value paid out in the state.

States with highest average dog bite claim

Rank State Average Cost per Claim Number of Claims Total Claim Payout (millions)
1 New York $55,800.00 893 49.83
2 New Hampshire $54,141.89 98 5.31
3 Florida $53,603.49 1268 67.97
4 Vermont $52,761.00 34 1.79
5 Arkansas $52,550.71 137 7.2
6 Oklahoma $52,147.67 229 11.94
7 Hawaii $51,498.08 62 3.19
8 California $51,264.60 2396 122.83
9 Montana $50,395.90 56 2.82
10 Maryland $48,642.39 290 14.11
11 Connecticut $48,550.07 304 14.76
12 Nebraska $48,422.06 115 5.57
13 Illinois $48,098.32 854 41.08
14 Georgia $47,968.24 497 23.84
15 New Jersey $47,868.74 699 33.46
16 Missouri $47,411.19 355 16.83
17 Alaska $47,237.36 31 1.46
18 Iowa $45,981.43 136 6.25
19 Arizona $45,811.22 410 18.78
20 Nevada $44,904.00 169 7.59
21 West Virginia $44,772.28 71 3.18
22 South Carolina $44,661.46 307 13.71
23 North Dakota $44,166.40 35 1.55
24 Wisconsin $43,593.04 285 12.42
25 Massachusetts $43,567.80 420 18.3
26 Rhode Island $43,567.80 72 3.14
27 Alabama $43,225.00 234 10.11
28 Wyoming $42,938.19 37 1.59
29 Michigan $42,832.83 740 37.7
30 Mississippi $42,520.78 142 6.04
31 South Dakota $41,282.45 43 1.78
32 Kentucky $41,236.00 201 8.29
33 Indiana $41,178.91 326 13.42
34 Texas $40,853.70 937 38.28
35 New Mexico $40,080.34 96 3.85
36 Louisiana $39,654.00 271 10.75
37 Maine $39,123.57 73 2.86
38 Tennessee $38,428.64 292 11.22
39 Minnesota $38,362.05 367 14.08
40 Colorado $37,981.88 379 14.4
41 Idaho $37,877.77 185 2.8
42 Washington $37,680.79 425 16.01
43 Oregon $37,223.18 185 6.89
44 Delaware $36,684.70 58 2.13
45 North Carolina $35,815.87 419 15.01
46 Pennsylvania $35,561.00 807 28.7
47 Utah $34,548.94 127 4.39
48 Kansas $34,424.46 192 6.61
49 Virginia $31,976.72 363 11.61
50 Ohio $31,779.36 764 24.28

Home and renters insurance coverage for dog owners

Many people are unaware that it’s the personal liability coverage on your home or renters insurance that protects you in a dog bite claim. Standard renters and home insurance policies come with $100,000 in personal liability. That $100,000 will kick in to cover a dog bite settlement. Given the average dog bite claim is $36,000 and the highest state average is $59,000, the $100,000 in coverage should be enough, although many claims can exceed the $100,000 of your personal liability, leaving you financially responsible for the remaining settlement.

If you are a dog owner, consider bumping up your liability coverage to over $500,000 to ensure you’re financially covered in the event of a dog bite. Some would suggest purchasing an umbrella policy of one million dollars in coverage.

The AVMA estimates that there are over 43 million dog-owning households in America, for which neither homeowners nor renters insurance is required, like auto insurance is for drivers. Inevitably, there are many dog-owning households that are uninsured and left vulnerable in the event their dog bites someone. If you’re without homeowners or renters liability coverage, seek out a policy to protect you and your pooch. If you are underinsured, contact your agent or insurance provider and look to raise your liability coverage.

Methodology

QuoteWizard analysts collected data from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm® joint study on dog bite liability claims by state. Analysts looked at average cost per claim in each state and ranked them from highest cost per claim to lowest cost per claim. Additionally, analysts included total number of claims and total dollar value of dog bite claims in each state.