Insurance Company Denies Fire Claim Because Insured Owns Pit Bull

The insurance company of a woman whose house was burnt to the ground had her fire claim denied because she owns a pit bull. Mary Grace O’Brien’s home in East Rockaway, New York, was gutted in October by a fire that originated in a clothes dryer, according to the Huffington Post.

Her insurance company, the Adirondack Insurance Company, denied her fire claim. Pit bulls are on Adirondack’s list of prohibited dogs, and they therefore will not pay one cent to O’Brien. O’Brien had purchased the policy through an insurance broker at the Sidakas Insurance Agency.

In the meantime, O’Brien’s house has been declared uninhabitable by her township, the Town of Hempstead, and she and her family are living with friends, according to CBS Channel 2 New York. Her family includes three children and six pets — cats and dogs — including a pit bull.

Talk about bad luck! She’s had other tragedy: her prior insurance company dropped her after her home was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy because she lived in a flood zone. O’Brien said the following, indicating that she believes that the Sidakas Insurance Agency lifted — forged — her signature on a document in which she stated that she had no pets. She said that she never saw such a document.

“They [the Sidakas Insurance Agency] produced this letter with a signature on the bottom. I had never seen it before and it said I have no pets. I have cats and I have dogs. I would never say that I have no pets. Nobody ever asked me.”

O’Brien is now filing lawsuits against the Adirondack Insurance Company and the Sidakas Insurance Agency. Neither have released a statement regarding the situation.

Some insurance companies deny coverage to people with certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls, rottweilers, and Doberman pinschers. What do you think about insurance companies that discriminate against certain breeds of dogs? Do you think that’s justified?

In this case, no one was injured by any dog. In fact, the fire claim filed with Adirondack doesn’t involve any of her animals. Should an insurance company be able to deny a claim in such a circumstance, even if a policyholder owns a “prohibited” breed?

Unfortunately, pit bulls, and some other breeds, often get a bad rap and are stereotyped as being “vicious.” Some people may avoid them, and they may not be covered by some insurance companies. However, there are many examples of their gentle nature, such as in the viral internet sensation pit bull named “Hulk.” As is shown in a recent Inquisitr article, a dog’s temperament often depends on how it is bred and raised. Although Hulk is gigantic and could frighten someone at first view — as he weighs 175 pounds and counting — who doesn’t know him, the enormous pit is friendly and child-approved.

[Photo Courtesy CBS Channel 2 New York]