Maryland Lawmakers Work To End Breed Discrimination By Insurance Companies
Lawmakers in the state of Maryland have heard the pleas from constituents to stop insurance companies from discriminating against certain breeds of their dogs, and have proposed a bill that would make that it illegal.
Maryland Senator Katherine A. Klausmeir wants to help insurance policyholders in her state to have fair and equitable coverage when it comes to their homeowner’s or rental insurances, and she doesn’t want that to be based on whether her constituents have dogs insurance companies deem ‘dangerous.’
She’s introduced Senate Bill 647 that will require insurers to cover the losses that occur from all dog breeds, or to not cover any losses occurring from dogs of any breeds or breed mixes. Currently, insurance companies can deny coverage for those who have certain dog breeds. The breeds commonly discriminated against are pit bulls or pit bull ‘types,’ Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers and even some German Shepherds.
If insurance companies do indeed offer coverage, they often raise rates for homeowners/renters with those breeds of dogs.
Supporters of the bill believe that rates should be based on actual risks based on incident, not on outdated stereotypes of breeds that discriminate whether or not the dog has shown any behaviors that would otherwise be considered risky in other dogs/breeds.
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Emily Hovermale is the director of the Maryland/Delaware chapter of the Humane Society of America. She says that insurance companies should pay attention to specific dogs and their individual histories when it comes to predicting the likelihood of dangerous behaviors in the future. To judge on breed is not fair, nor based on anything other than outright discrimination.