Dogs may be man’s best friend. But dog bites are costing California insurers a hefty chunk of cash.
Insurance companies in California received 1,919 dog bite claims last year, costing a total of $64.7 million -- the highest of any state in the U.S., according to a report from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.
The rise in claims from canine bites can be seen throughout the country. In 2013, attacks cost insurers $484 million while the number of claims climbed 5.5% from the year before, the report said.
All told, encounters with Fido account for more than one-third of liability costs for homeowners insurance.
“The increase in the number of claims may be attributable to non-bite injuries that are being captured in the analysis, which can include scratching, tripping, knocking down or frightening a person,” the report said.
Loretta Worters, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, said the average cost per claim has climbed more than 45% in the last decade.
The reasons? “Increased medical costs,” she said in a statement, “as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing.”
Just behind California, New York saw 965 dog bite claims totaling $41.6 million last year. The $43,122 average surpassed even the Golden State’s $33,709.