N.Y.: Possible changes coming to New York’s dog breed law

April 4, 2022

The New York state Assembly passed A.9284-A on March 30, 2022, with a 114-32 vote. This bill—sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick, D-66—would be a chapter amendment to the 2021 dog breed law. It would close a loophole in the current law by prohibiting insurers from excluding, limiting, restricting or reducing coverage on homeowners insurance policies based solely on insureds owning  specific breeds of dogs.

Current law

The dog breed law that went into effect at the end of January prohibits carriers from using breeds of dogs when underwriting insureds’ homeowners insurance policies, as defined by New York Insurance Law Section 2351. Specifically, the law prohibits insurers from refusing to issue, renew or cancel, or charge or impose increased premiums on  homeowners policies, based on the breeds of dogs that insureds own.

This has allowed insurance companies to exclude or reduce coverage for certain dogs, since the law does not prohibit this.

Concerns about this chapter amendment

While this bill certainly treats all homeowners fairly, regardless of the types of dogs they have, it is likely that homeowners insurance costs for dog owners will increase across the board should this become law. By removing carriers’ ability to individually rate homeowners policies based upon dog breeds, carriers will simply charge all homeowners with dogs a higher premium. Thus, those with less dangerous dogs will subsidize the costs of paying settlements for dog bites from more dangerous dogs.

Next steps

The bill has been sent to the state Senate, in which it has been referred to the Senate Insurance Committee for consideration.

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.
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Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.

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