Writing to Your Representative
One way to combat insurance discrimination against dog owners is to contact your state senator or representative. Discuss your insurance problems and suggest that he or she introduce legislation prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners based on the breed of dog they own. Model bills can be found here.
Writing to your representative is one of the most effective ways to raise his or her awareness about an issue. While e-mails can be deleted and phone calls may not be tallied, a letter effectively registers your opinion. A sample letter is provided below, as are some tips to keep in mind.
Points to Remember
- Keep it short. A longer letter will be set aside for reading/answering as time allows You do not want to be set aside. A well-worded short letter is just as effective-sometimes even more so-than an epistle.
- Keep it neat. A typed letter is obviously easier to read, but not always practical for everyone. If you do not have access to a computer or typewriter, simply hand-write the letter as neatly as possible.
- Personalize your letter. Form letters do not carry the same weight as individualized correspondence. When writing, identify yourself or your organization. Mention whether you are a constituent or if you have another connection to the legislator's district.
- Be courteous. A belligerent letter will not win any points with a representative or his staff.
Armed with these suggestions, you should be set to write an effective letter with the power to convince your representative to introduce new legislation. Additional tips can be found in the Government Relations department's Make Your Contact Count brochure.
Model Letter Regarding Homeowners' Insurance
Dear [Senator/Representative/Delegate ________________ ]:
[Include a short paragraph about yourself and your dog interest, using the following example as a model. "I have owned, bred, and shown Rottweilers for more than 15 years.
Throughout my involvement with Rottweilers, my dogs have been responsible members of the community."]
Many insurance companies refuse to grant coverage to families who own certain breeds of dogs, even if the dog is well-trained and has never demonstrated aggression. Other families who have had coverage for years with a given company may suddenly be dropped-even if a claim has never been made-simply because the company decides not to cover an arbitrary list of breeds.
I support reasonable legislation that protects responsible dog owners while allowing insurance companies to raise rates or refuse coverage only if a dog has been deemed dangerous based on non-discriminatory dangerous dog laws.
I strongly urge you to consider introducing such a bill to address the unreasonable underwriting practices of some insurance companies.