Arizona law stops insurance companies from charging more for dangerous breed dogs

Arizona law stops insurance companies from discriminating based on dog breed

Dog owners know how hard it can be to find an apartment that accepts your furry family members. If you own a so-called “dangerous” breed it is even worse. Even if you own your own home, you might have to deal with an unexpected problem–House Insurance covering your pet. Traditionally, if your pet bites someone at your house, your home insurance or renters insurance would protect you. But with so-called Dangerous Breeds, this isn’t necessarily true.

Home Insurance and Dangerous Breeds

Insurance companies rely on sweeping generalizations and stereotypes to deny “aggressive” dog breeds coverage. In 37 states, there are now 1,000 local breed restrictions. Restrictions range from mandating muzzles at the park to outright prohibition of ownership for certain breeds. Advocates of denigrated breeds have successfully overturned dozens of restrictions across the country, but many regulations remain in place.

Over the past years, insurance companies have been excluding coverage, or charging more for coverage, for dogs they consider «Dangerous Breeds.» The lengthy list of “excluded dogs” usually includes Doberman pinschers, Chow Chows, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, sometimes German shepherds, and always pit-bulls. In most states, insurance companies can deny coverage or charge more for dogs it considers dangerous, regardless of the dog’s temperament.

New Arizona Law Focuses on Dog Behavior, not Breed

In 2022 Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill into law that prevents a dog’s breed from being the only factor considered in legal matters such as whether a dog is aggressive or vicious, or in determining liability for a dog bite. The law also prevents insurance companies from discriminating against dog owners based on the breed of their dog.

THE BREED OF A DOG MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED IN FINDINGS OF FACTS OR CONCLUSIONS OF LAW ENTERED BY A COURT, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE, HEARING OFFICER, ARBITRATOR OR OTHER LEGAL DECISION-MAKER REGARDING WHETHER A DOG IS AGGRESSIVE OR VICIOUS OR HAS CREATED LIABILITY.

Reduced liability for Military and Police Dogs

HB2323 also contains liability exceptions for Military and Police Dogs. This law strengthens the protections for the police and military and protects Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert and other Arizona cities against lawsuits. In effect, if you are injured in the course of a police officer’s regular duties, you cannot hold them liable. However, if you were simply a bystander when a police dog attacked you, you can try and hold them liable for your injuries.

How will this new law affect you?

As a dog owner, Insurance companies can no longer withhold coverage or make you pay a higher premium simply based on the breed of your dog. This broad-reaching law could impact you in unexpected ways as well. For example, these actions would not be legal in Arizona:

  • A judge denying child custody due to the presence of a specific breed of dog.
  • A public park requiring you to muzzle your dog based on its breed.
  • A city or county passing an ordinance requiring dogs to be spayed or neutered based on its breed.

Dog owners no longer have to take measures to avoid detection, thus increasing the dog’s outdoor exercise and socialization. This should also encourage dog owners to obtain licensing, proper veterinary care, and essential vaccinations.

Would you like to find out more about Arizona dog laws?

If my dog bites someone, am I responsible?
My dog bit someone 4 years ago, can they sue me?
My friend’s dog bit my child. I don’t want to sue my friend, but we have medical bills.
The pool cleaner said our dog bit him. What should I do?
My apartment building won’t allow tenants to have a certain breed of dog. Is this legal?
My home insurance raised our rates because we have a pitbull. Is this legal?
In Arizona how long do I have to sue someone for a dog bite?
A stray dog attacked and wounded my dog. Who can I sue?
My dog ran away, and someone says it attacked them. They are threatening to sue me if I don’t pay them money. What should I do?