In 2012, a law was signed in Massachusetts to set forth a statewide dog law that prohibited regulation based on breed. While no Massachusetts municipality may have a breed-discriminatory ordinance, some insurance companies have restricted certain dog breeds.
This has an implication for injuries inflicted by the restricted dogs on humans and other animals. While the liability portion of homeowners’ insurance covers damages caused by your dog, you might end up stranded if you face a dog bite lawsuit, and your insurance won’t cover your restricted breed of dog. That’s why it’s crucial to consult Boston personal injury attorneys to evaluate your options.
What Should I Know About the 2012 Massachusetts Dog Breed Law Say?
According to the 2012 law, no city or town should regulate dogs in a breed-specific manner. In addition, no dog shall be deemed dangerous based on its breed. However, recent attacks by pit bulls in Massachusetts have revived calls for breed-specific legislation concerning pit bulls in particular.
The Controversy Over Banned Dog Breeds
Opponents of breed-specific legislation claim that identifying one breed over another is dangerous and meaningless. That’s because the breed of dog responsible for the most severe dog attacks or bites often changes, depending on the overall popularity of the breed.
Unfortunately, accurate information on the number of dog bites can be complex to determine at best. Accurate statistics would require detailed information about dog demographics in the area, reliable dog identification, and a comprehensive dog bites report. For more information on how the law affects you as a dog owner, a Boston dog bite lawyer can help.
Which Dog Breeds Does Homeowners Insurance Restrict?
Most homeowners’ insurance providers consider the following dog breeds aggressive and hence dangerous:
- Wolf hybrids
- Presa Canarios
- Siberian Huskies
- Chow chows
- German shepherds
- Pit bulls
- Great Danes
- Alaskan malamutes
Wolf hybrids, pit bulls, and Rottweilers most often have some specific limits. So, they are more likely to have more severe restrictions or be prohibited altogether. If your dog is one of these breeds, your home insurance may require that you exclude dog liability coverage from your policy.
Alternatively, you may have to increase your premiums or cancel your policy altogether. If your insurer didn’t cover your restricted dog breed, it would help to protect yourself from liability by purchasing an umbrella liability cover or dog-specific liability insurance. Consult with dog bite lawyers in Boston to help you evaluate your options.
What Happens If I Own One of the Restricted Breeds?
If you decide to own a restricted or banned dog breed despite the local laws, your insurer may choose to decline coverage if an accident happens. They may also cancel your policy if you engage in an illegal act, and owning a banned dog is no exception.
The consequences when an insurer learns that you own a restricted dog will depend on various factors. One is the exact breed you have and the specific insurance policy you have. In most cases, the insurance company will increase your insurance premiums.
You’re more likely to agree to exclusion if your dog is a pit bull, wolf hybrid, or notorious breed. In this case, your liability insurance won’t compensate for damages if your dog inflicts bite injuries.
In a different case, your insurer might not agree to provide homeowners’ liability coverage, especially if your dog has been aggressive or exhibited aggression signs before. If you believe your insurer is acting unfairly, let Boston dog bite attorneys evaluate your case and advise you accordingly.
Am I Liable for Dog Bites in Boston, MA?
If your pit bull or another restricted dog attacks someone in Massachusetts, they can take legal action against you and file a lawsuit to demand compensation for the medical bills. In dog bite cases, Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state, meaning a victim doesn’t have to prove anything to get compensation.
In other words, a victim doesn’t need to have any history of your dog or prove your knowledge of your dog’s aggressive nature. You’re liable for dog bites injuries if:
- The injured person wasn’t trespassing, provoking the dog, or committing a crime
- The dog injuries caused the person to sustain a personal injury
In a strict liability state like Massachusetts, these two elements are all the victim has to prove to prevail and win compensation. You can talk to dog bite lawyers in Boston if you feel or believe the claim is unfairly charged against you.
Do Pit Bulls Increase My Insurance Rates?
If you have recently acquired a pit bull or want to purchase a new policy, it’s crucial to let your insurer know about the pit bull. The likelihood is that your insurance rates will increase, which is highly dependent on the insurer you choose and your pit bull’s history.
Nationally, the rates increase by about 1% on average if the policyholder has an aggressive dog breed. The category of dogs includes chow chows, Dobermans, and Rottweilers. Pit bulls are known to be aggressive and therefore pose a greater liability risk, which can be costly to the insurance company.
Where Can I Find Pit-Bull-Friendly Homeowners Insurance Options?
Fortunately for you as a pit bull owner, you have options from a few homeowners’ insurance companies that don’t discriminate against pit bulls. Instead, they consider the dog’s past behavior to evaluate insurance risk. Unless your dog has caused injury to someone in the past, you’re eligible to receive insurance coverage for your pit bull through State Farm.
USAA is also another provider that doesn’t enforce any dog breed restrictions. If your dog has a clean bite history, it can qualify for coverage.
An Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Aggressively Defending Your Rights
If you own any restricted dog breed in Boston, you may feel like insurance providers unfairly discriminate against your dog. That’s especially true because they won’t provide compensation if your dog injures someone. A Boston dog bite lawyer can look at your case’s details and advise you on how to navigate the situation.
Our legal team can provide the legal counsel you need concerning restricted dog breeds in Boston. Avoid being on the wrong side with insurance providers ensuring you do things right regarding homeowners’ insurance. Contact us to schedule a FREE consultation.