PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – A Phoenix couple had their homeowners insurance policy canceled after this company learned they had adopted a pit bull. According to the cancellation notice, Hartford Financial Services Group called the dog “breed ineligible.”
Linda Wiggs said she adopted Echo from a shelter a few months ago. They wanted a companion for their other dog, an Australian Shepherd named Izzy. “Echo came into our lives and she caused all kinds of fun, joy,” Wiggs said.
It started last month when the insurer contacted to do an inspection of their home. They said an agent came and asked what race Echo was. They told them she was a pit bull. They thought nothing of it. “She never pinched any of our neighbors. My husband takes her for a walk every morning,” she said.
A few weeks later, a letter arrived in the mail. Their landlord’s insurance policy had been terminated. They also terminated it for the couple’s second home in Indiana. Echo didn’t even go there. “I was so shocked, surprised, I couldn’t believe anyone would discriminate against a race,” Wiggs said.
A brave dog is recovering after battling a mountain lion that wandered around a house in La Verne on Monday.
The Arizona family went to see Peter Sheppard with Mr. Insurance for some insight. “There’s a particular number of about 15 breeds that insurance companies will avoid,” Sheppard said.
The Hartford Financial Services Group sent the following statement:
Millions of people are bitten by dogs each year and dog bites are one of the leading causes of liability claims against owners. As such, we have underwriting guidelines for dogs that are risk-based. Generally speaking, we ask customers if they have a dog when they purchase home insurance, and we decide whether or not to provide insurance accordingly. If, after providing owner coverage, we learn that a dog poses a risk, we reserve the right to void the policy. In the event of cancellation, we offer an appeal process. However, we take customer privacy seriously and will not discuss an individual’s particular circumstances.
Besides reading the fine print of your font, what should you do if you have questions? “Talk to your agent, your rep, local reps are usually more knowledgeable about local statutes,” Sheppard said.
Why Pit Bulls Don’t Deserve Their Bad Reputation
State Rep. John Kavanagh is proposing a measure that would ban dog breed discrimination. This would prevent insurers from charging higher premiums to owners and renters. A House committee approved it. It now passes to the Plenary Assembly.
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