A dog playing tug-of-war with a rope, representing the potential for dog bite injury claims.

Dog Related Injury Claims Increased Again in 2023

Insurers paid $1.12 billion in dog-related injury claims in 2023, marking a 110% increase over the past decade, according to Triple-I and State Farm research.

Why it matters: While it may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to weather-related insurance claims, dog bite claims have a significant impact on carrier profitability. According to projections from Triple-I and Milliman, personal lines missed the mark in 2023 with a 109.9% underwriting profit ratio.

  • Investopedia states a ratio below 100 percent indicates that the company is making an underwriting profit.

By the numbers: The total number of dog bites and related claims surged by over 8% in 2023, reaching 19,062 cases. However, the average cost per claim decreased to $58,545, down about 9% from the previous year. 

  • California, Florida, and Texas led in claims.

What they’re saying: “Dogs are not just pets; they are beloved members of our households, providing joy, companionship, and comfort in our lives,” said Dr. Rena Carlson, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. “Together, we can nurture the bonds we share with our dogs and ensure the safety of our families and communities.”

Tips to prevent dog bites 

All dogs – even well-trained, gentle dogs – can bite when provoked. Tips from the National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition to help prevent dog bites include:

  • Make sure your pet is healthy. Not all illnesses and injuries are apparent, and dogs are more likely to bite if sick or in pain.
  • Take it slow. If your dog has mainly interacted with your family since you brought them home, don’t rush out into crowded areas or dog parks. Expose your dogs to new situations slowly and for short periods.
  • Approach other people’s pets responsibly. Ask permission from the owner before approaching a dog. Look for signs that the dog wants to interact with you.
  • Continually monitor your dog’s activity, even in your backyard, because it can be frightened by something, escape the yard, and possibly injure someone or themselves. 

The bottom line: The key to mitigating the risks of dog bites lies in prevention and responsible behavior from both owners and the public.