This week, State Farm revealed the top 10 states for dog bite claims, at least with respect to their company.
California topped the chart with 369 insurance claims and $11.3 million paid out.
Illinois was a close second with 317 insurance claims and $9.7 million paid, followed by Ohio in the third spot with 215 claims and $5.7 million paid.
Texas and Michigan closed out the top five with claims of 202 and 166, respectively, and $3.7 million and $5.2 million in claims paid out.
Overall, State Farm paid out more than $90 million as a result of the nearly 3,500 dog bite claims recorded in 2010.
State Farm says it doesn’t refuse insurance based on the breed of dog, but does require policyholders to answer questions about their dogs’ history on a homeowner insurance application.
Interestingly, there is one exception – in Ohio, the pit bull breed meets the definition of a “vicious dog,” so the owners of pit bulls or any American Staffordshire terrier mix aren’t able to obtain State Farm homeowners insurance coverage for such breeds.
What can you do to prevent dog bites?
Well, 60 percent of dog bite victims are children under 12, so never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
And teach your children about dog safety, including telling them to stay away from stranger’s dogs, and always ask permission before petting another owner’s dog.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that insurance companies paid out more than $412 million in dog bite claims in 2009, so be sure to take measures to ensure your dog doesn’t end up a liability.
And yes, you have to tell your homeowners insurance company you have a dog, otherwise the misrepresentation could void your coverage.
Read more: Does homeowners insurance cover my dog?