Every year millions of people are bitten by dogs and that can end up costing you big time. That's because when someone gets bit it's often their insurance that pays. That means all of us could end up paying more for things like home owners insurance because of Illinois' high ranking for dog bites.
"Illinois was the second highest state with dog bite claims," says Gwen Brooks, State Farm owner, agent.
Those statistics are based on claims from one insurance company, State Farm.
Illinois had 337 bites claims. State Farm paid out $9 million. Based on population, Illinois should be at the top of that list. There were 2-point-6 dog bites per 100-thousand people. Agents say about half of state farms claims covered children who were hurt.
"Most often times it's with the family pet and it's with neighbors coming over or walking by or something like that," says Brooks.
Winnebago County Animal Services' Donna Apgar says there is a lot dog owners can do to make sure a bite does not happen. She advises never let your dog roam on its own without being on a leash and make sure your pet gets proper training.
"It's very important for pet owners to socialize their dog around other animals, other people so that the world isn't frightening for them," says Apgar.
Apgar warns often a dog will bite if it's scared so listen to your pet. If it is growling or seems afraid of a person or object do not force the animal to interact.
"Pet owners need to protect their pets and not put them in a situation where they feel threatened where they have to protect themselves," says Apgar.
State Farm says a lot of people assume they are covered for their dog under their home owners insurance but every company is different. Some do not cover certain breeds and other require you notify your insurer so it is included in the policy.
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