New York Ends Dog Breed Discrimination for Home Insurance by Insurers

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recently commended New York State lawmakers and Governor Kathy Hochul for enacting critical legislation prohibiting insurance companies from using a dog's breed in determining homeowner insurance coverage.

Source: Farmingdale Observer | Published on December 28, 2021

Man embracing his dog

With this new law, which takes effect 90 days after it is enacted, New York joins Nevada as the only two states with laws prohibiting this discriminatory practice.

"At a time when New Yorkers are facing unprecedented housing challenges, the cost and availability of insurance has become an even more onerous barrier to homeownership for families with pets," said Bill Ketzer, senior director of state legislation for the ASPCA's Eastern Division. "This new law prohibits insurance companies from overcharging or denying coverage to families solely because they own a specific breed of dog, removing housing barriers for thousands of responsible New York dog owners."

The vast majority of property insurance providers currently deny or significantly increase homeowner coverage and renewals for households with specific breeds of dogs in their homes, despite the fact that there is no evidence to support this policy because insurance claim data does not validate the idea that certain breeds of dogs are a higher risk than non-restricted breeds.

"People have too often had to choose between their beloved pets and homeowners insurance. This is an unjust situation that Governor Hochul has now rectified with the power of the pen "Libby Post, executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, stated "In New York State, the unfair practice of insurance companies discriminating against homeowners based on the breed of their dog has been permanently ended. It is a significant step forward because homeowners and their dogs will now be treated fairly."

In recent years, an increasing number of state and local governments have taken action to prohibit dog ownership regulation based on breed-or appearance of breed-of the dog.

These jurisdictions recognize that breed restrictions are an ineffective and inaccurate tool for preventing dog-related risks, and instead rely on objective facts to determine whether individual dogs pose public risks.

"These new laws ensure that our animals are treated with respect. Our four-legged companions are valued members of our families and deserve to be respected "Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris stated. "There is still work to be done, but these are significant steps forward in the cause of animal rights."

Because past behavior is a much better predictor of future behavior than genetics, this legislation expressly allows insurers to cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or increase premiums for households with a resident dog of any breed who has a history of aggression.

"Dogs of all breeds are cherished members of our families, yet the insurance industry has been discriminating against dog owners based solely on the breed of their companion based on debunked claims and sensational media coverage," Assemblymember Deborah Glick said.

"My mother had a German Shepherd as a companion in her later years—my sisters and I called her Ginger—and she was the sweetest, gentlest dog. No New Yorker will be forced by their insurance company to choose between a dog like Ginger and their home under this new law."

In addition to enacting this new law, state lawmakers took several other actions in 2021 to better protect animals, including:

  • renewing the $5 million NYS Companion Animal Capital Fund as part of the 2022 state budget;
  • Preventing burdensome new requirements for veterinarians that would have reduced access to care
  • Enacting legislation prohibiting the slaughter of racehorses, while also providing funding for retired horse aftercare and requiring racehorses to be microchipped.

To learn more about the ASPCA or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, go to