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California leads nation in State Farm dog-bite claims
By Insure.com staff

California dogs took a bite out of State Farm's bottom line in 2011. State Farm California reported 527 dog-bite claims last year, totaling $20.3 million. The number of claims jumped 31 percent from 2010.

Nationally, State Farm paid out $109 million to settle nearly 3,800 claims in 2011. Top states on the list include:

  1. California:  527 ($20.3 million)
  2. Illinois: 309 ($10 million)
  3. Texas: 219 ($5.1 million)
  4. Ohio: 215 ($5.4 million)
  5. Pennsylvania: 197 ($4.9 million)
  6. Michigan: 181 ($7 million)
  7. Florida: 157 ($5.1 million)
  8. Indiana: 139 ($3.5 million)
  9. New York: 133 ($6.1 million)
  10. Minnesota: 117 ($3.5 million)

Each year, dogs bite or attack nearly 5 million people in the United States, according to State Farm. The insurer notes that "there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed" and that it does not refuse homeowners insurance based on the type of breed a customer owns.

Statistics show that children and seniors frequently are victims of dog bites, according to State Farm. The insurer and the American Humane Association offer the following tips for reducing your risk:

  • Never leave babies and small children with dogs.
  • Keep an eye out for situations that could become dangerous.
  • From the time children are toddlers, teach them to be careful around pets.
  • Teach children to avoid approaching strange dogs.
  • Ask permission from a dog's owner before petting the animal.
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