Report says dog bite claims on the rise in Indiana, Illinois during the pandemic


A new report suggests that dog bites were a growing problem in Indiana over the past year – with COVID being part of the cause.

According to new data from State Farm, Indiana ranked 9th in the country last year for dog bite insurance claims, with 113 claims totaling $4.5 million in damages. That’s an increase of 25 biting incidents and $1.2 million in claim costs over 2019.

The average amount paid for each claim in Indiana was almost $40,000.

The highest month for claims was last March, at the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Experts believe another disruption, this time caused by the easing of COVID restrictions and more people going back to work outside the home, could lead to another spike in dog bite incidents.

Tips for preventing dog bites:

  • Focus on the dog, not the breed: Every dog has a unique personality that influences how it reacts. Heredity, health, pain, training, fear, and aggression can all affect behavior, so don’t base your treatment of a dog on its breed alone.
  • Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog: Children make up more than 50 percent of all dog bite victims, with injuries highest among children age 5-9.
  • Always walk your dog on a leash: A dog can be startled at any time, whether by a loud noise or unfamiliar person.
  • Actively supervise your dog: Don’t just put your dog outside alone or on a chain. Go out with them to monitor and observe their behavior.

The top states for dog bite claims in 2020 were:

  1. California, with 402 claims totaling $26 million
  2. Illinois, with 258 claims for $12.6 million
  3. Ohio, with 187 claims for $6.7 million
  4. Pennsylvania, with 158 claims for $7 million
  5. Michigan, with 143 claims for $6.3 million

Rhode Island saw the fewest bites, with just one dog bite claim last year.

​Over the past decade (2011-2020), State Farm has paid over $1.1 billion for dog-related injury claims in the U.S. State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog someone owns.

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