bigdog lilkid 041923

SPRINGFIELD – Right now, 65.1 million U.S. households own a dog. From companionship to emotional support, pets are a vital part of their owners’ lives. In fact, 85% of dog owners consider their pets to be a member of the family. Unfortunately, families with specific dog breeds sometimes face insurance discrimination solely because their breed is perceived to be dangerous, resulting in cancelation or stiff premiums for their policies.

Longtime animal welfare defender State Senator Linda Holmes wants to prohibit that insurance practice, with exceptions only for specific dogs involved in documented incidents of dangerous or vicious behavior. Her House Bill 1049 amending insurance code to this effect was heard and passed in Tuesday’s Senate Insurance Committee.

“Unfortunately, some dog breeds are perceived as being inherently dangerous, but the statistics don’t necessarily bear that out,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “If you have a dangerous dog – whatever the breed – who has caused harm or damage, limits or penalties to your homeowners’ or renters’ policy may be warranted. This clarifies the damage or behavior must be documented and not simply perceived.”

Currently, insurance companies have discretion to refuse, remove or modify coverage based on the breed of a pet owner’s dog. This would require them to gather information about dog-related incidents, including the breed, gender, spay or neuter status, behavior of the person injured before an incident, type of injury, and any history of training and complaints made against the dog.

With the Senate Insurance Committee’s passage of House Bill 1049, it now moves to the Senate floor for further consideration.