Skip to Main Content
Services Talent Knowledge
Site Search


Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

February 8, 2022

New York State Limits Insurers' Rights to Refuse Homeowners' Policies Based on Dog Breed

Effective January 28, 2022, New York State amended the New York Insurance Law by adding a new section 3421, prohibiting any homeowners’ insurer from considering the breed of an insured’s dog during the underwriting process.  

The new section 3421 seeks to address the historical practice among some insurers of refusing to issue homeowners’ policies, or charging higher premiums, if an insured owns certain dog breeds, such as pit bull terriers. Insurers are now prohibited from refusing to issue or renew, cancelling, or charging higher premiums “based solely upon harboring or owning any dog of a specific breed or mixture of breeds.”

On the other hand, the new section 3421 contains a specific exception if the dog is designated as a “dangerous dog” under New York Agriculture and Markets Law § 123. This exception is fairly limited in its application, though, as the designation of a dog as a “dangerous dog” requires a judicial determination that either the dog has already attacked a person, companion animal, or farm animal or the dog poses a “serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death.”  

Between the blanket prohibition of underwriting solely based on breed and the single exception for dogs that have either bitten or are an imminent threat lies a population of dogs that have been specifically bred for their aggressive tendencies and pose a significant risk of injury. The new section 3421 does not address the risks posed by that population of dogs; it remains to be seen whether further clarification from the Department of Financial Services will clarify how these risks can be accurately underwritten.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Joe Wilson, counsel, at; Tony Piazza, Insurance Coverage & Regulation Practice Area chair, at; or another member of the firm’s Insurance Coverage & Regulation Practice Area.


Click here to sign up for alerts, blog posts, and firm news.

Featured Media


COVID-19 Business Interruption Update: New York High Court Affirms in Favor of Insurer


USFWS Introduces General Permit for Bald and Golden Eagle Incidental Take


ORES Executive Director Issues First Denial of Section 94-C Permit Application Following Applicant's Partial Loss of Site Control


New Details About OPWDD Spending in the New York State FY 2025 Executive Budget


Second Circuit Reverses in Favor of Insured in $600,000 Fire Loss Case


New York State Minimum Wage Increases Are Here: Are You Compliant?

We're Growing in DC!

We’re excited to announce Barclay Damon’s combination with Washington DC–based Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. SLS’s 10 lawyers, three paralegals, and four administrative staff will join Barclay Damon while maintaining their current office in DC’s central business district. Our clients will benefit from SLS’s corporate, real estate, finance, and construction litigation experience and national energy-industry profile, and their clients from our full range of services.

Read More

This site uses cookies to give you the best experience possible on our site and in some cases direct advertisements to you based upon your use of our site.

By clicking [I agree], you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For information on what cookies we use and how to manage our use of cookies, please visit our Privacy Statement.

I AgreeOpt-Out