holmes 0609231SPRINGFIELD – Families with specific dog breeds may face home or renter insurance discrimination because insurers perceive their breed as dangerous. State Senator Linda Holmes wants to prohibit that insurance practice, and her House Bill 1049 to amend insurance code to this effect has been signed into law today.

"For years, harmful stereotypes of certain dog breeds have allowed insurers to punish families for owning a specific dog breed, resulting in cancelation or stiff premiums for their policies,” said Holmes (D-Aurora). “This measure will help ensure that all dog owners are treated fairly in the insurance market.”

Currently, insurance companies have discretion to refuse, remove or modify coverage based on the breed of a pet owner’s dog. This amends the Insurance Code to prohibit an insurer from refusing to issue or impose an increased premium or rate, or restrict or reduce coverage based solely upon harboring or owning any dog of a specific breed or mixture of breeds.

An insurer may cancel, refuse or renew a policy or impose a reasonably increased premium based on if an individual dog is a dangerous or vicious dog, as determined by actual loss experience with that individual dog.

House Bill 1049 will take effect immediately; some provisions take effect six months later.