Children make up more than 50 percent of all dog bite victims. With that in mind, National Dog Bite Prevention Week® is April 9-15, 2017. In 2016 State Farm paid more than $121 million as a result of 3,660 dog bite claims, an increase of 15 percent. Over the past decade State Farm has paid over $1 billion for dog-related injury claims.
While Tennessee and Kentucky aren't at the top of the list, dog bites are not to be ignored.
State Farm does not exclude homeowners or renters insurance coverage because of the breed of dog owned. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite, regardless of breed. Homeowners should talk to their insurance agent about coverage under a standard homeowner policy.
Many people don't think to add a personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP) to provide extra coverage in case their dog does bite someone. Homeowners think about fire or theft to their home but don't think their dog would bite anyone so they may be financially vulnerable if it ever happens. Renters should consider getting renters insurance. Most landlords do not provide coverage should there be a dog bite incident.
State Farm works with renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell and focuses on educating people about responsible dog ownership and understanding dog body language.
"Educating the general public about dog bite prevention is more vital than ever," says Stilwell. "As a dog behavior expert, I support the need to raise awareness and stop these incidents from occurring."
Stilwell recommends the following tips to keep people safe from dog bites.
1. Learn canine body language. Too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. For example, a dog that yawns might not necessarily be tired. Yawning can also be a sign of stress.
2. Give dogs space. Dogs can feel threatened when strange people touch them, so take pressure off by giving them the choice to come into your space first to say hello.
3. Be humane. Dogs that are raised and trained humanely are more confident and less likely to bite than dogs that are trained using punitive methods or equipment designed to intimidate and cause pain.
State Farm will participate in various educational opportunities during the week to reinforce the importance of being safe and responsible around dogs.
State Farm agents will be in classrooms demonstrating dog safety. Elementary school children will learn how to greet a dog during educational demonstrations featuring Richard Nash and Hudson the Railroad Puppy, Roo Yori the K9 Ninja, and Michele Shaffer-Stevens with Aladdin.
State Farm: Top 10 States for Dog-Related Injury Claims
Number of Dog-Related Injury Claims
Amount Paid for Dog-Related Injury Claims
1. California 433 claims $16.8 million
2. Illinois 323 claims $13.9 million
3. Ohio 211 claims $ 7.5 million
4. Pennsylvania 200 claims $ 4.8 million
5. Texas 168 claims $ 3.1 million
6. Michigan 167 claims $ 4.4 million
7. New York 156 claims $10.4 million
8. Indiana 137 claims $ 3.0 million
9. Georgia 125 claims $ 3.4 million
10. Minnesota 122 claims $ 3.3 million
21. Tennessee 65 claims $1.7 million
27. Kentucky 50 claims $1.3 million
Source: State Farm - Homeowner, Renter, Farm & Ranch, and Commercial property claims