SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns are near the top of the list when it comes to the average cost per dog bite insurance claim.
A new study by QuoteWizard says Utah has the third-highest average cost per claim in the nation. In 2018, the state saw a total of 116 dog bite claims with the average cost per claim at $45,760, totaling more than $5 million in settlements statewide.
In the study, the Beehive State ranked behind New York and New Jersey. In New York there where 821 dog bite claims were made, costing an average of more than $59,000 each, with an average settlement that totaled more than $49 million. New Jersey had 586 claims made, costing an average of more than $55,000 per claim, with an average settlement of more than $32 million.
In 2018 there were 17,000 thousand dog bite claims across the nation totaling $673 million in total claim value, according to the study.
A news release from QuoteWizard says the study collected data from The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm dog bite claims to determine which states averaged highest for cost per claim. There are an estimated 43 million dog-owning households in the U.S., according to The American Veterinary Medical Association.
The study comes just four months after a Utah toddler had part of his arm bitten off by a neighbor’s dog. The 4-year-old boy was playing in the backyard of his Layton home when the boy’s mother said one of their neighbor’s two huskies went under their fence and bit the child’s arm off below the elbow.
News of that incident sparked heated debate about whether the dogs should be put down, and one Utah woman even started a petition to save the dogs’ lives.
Charges were initially filed against the dog’s owners, but were later dropped after the animals were surrendered to Davis County Animal Care and Control.
Children are most at risk for dog bites, and if bitten their injuries can be more severe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. With the number of dog-owning households on the rise, the CDC predicts dog bite cases will also increase.
Humans who are bitten by dogs can contract diseases such as rabies, Capnocytophaga bacteria, MRSA, tetanus and more, the CDC reports. Information on how to prevent dog attacks and bites can be found on the agency’s website.