Stopping Dog Breed Discrimination by Insurance Companies

The Problem

  • Some insurance companies are allowed to use outdated and unsupported dog breed/mix lists without any reliable data.

  • These unreliable lists have a detrimental impact on uninformed consumers, people of color and consumers of low means.
  • Consumers do not consider the impact of their dog’s breed on their homeowners insurance coverage. Few consumers are aware of other options to obtain coverage. Pet-owning consumers must go underinsured, uninsured, or relinquish their pet to an animal shelter.

  • Research suggests a correlation between dog breed type and race as it relates to perceptions of ownership.

  • There is no reliable actuarial data that supports making a distinction between dog breeds. DNA studies show that visual identification of a dog’s breed based on physical features is unreliable.
  • Preferred customers might receive a waiver for their pet because of the business they bring to the carrier.

Dog breed bans fail to enhance public safety and lead to costly litigation

That is why the International Municipal Lawyers Association issued a new model dangerous-dog ordinance in 2018, removing the breed-specific section. Breed-specific ordinances not only often violate the due process clause of the Constitution, they also usually violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Creating safe communities is a priority for all of us

Everyone — both people and pets — benefits from safe communities. Rather than pass laws that punish innocent pets for being born a certain breed and their responsible owners, our communities should hold reckless owners accountable for dogs who are dangerous. And efforts to protect community members from dangerous dogs are a key component of any public safety plan.

Individual accountability is the only effective approach to protecting both people and pets. When it comes to enforcing dangerous dog laws, our focus should be on negligent and reckless owners, not the breed of the pet.

Downloadable resources

Breed Discrimination in the Insurance Industry

This white paper discusses the discriminatory impact of the insurance industry's use of dog breed lists to deny homeowner and renters insurance coverage and renewals, create policy exclusions, and place limitations on coverage. <Download the whitepaper

A Model Act is Needed for Uniformity

Six states have either passed or have legislation pending regarding homeowners insurance and dog breeds. Twenty two States have banned breed discrimination. Download this flyer to learn more.

Pit Bull Ban a Waste of Taxpayer Dollars

This article by the Platte Institute discusses how pit bull bans affect responsible owners who have raised their pets as family members. Negligent owners who are attracted to pit bulls because of their negative reputation and who use them as status symbols or for fighting will not be influenced by the law.

American Bar Association resolution

The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates passed a resolution in 2012 urging all state, territorial, and local legislative bodies and governmental agencies to adopt comprehensive breed-neutral dangerous dog/reckless owner laws that ensure due process protections for owners, encourage responsible pet ownership, and focus on the behavior of both dog owners and dogs. The resolution also urges the repeal of any breed-discriminatory or breed-specific provisions.

Fiscal impact calculator

This tool helps you to determine the economic impact of dog breed bans for your city or state.

Dog Breed-Neutral Laws for Safe Communities

Effective laws address the behavior of dog owners and the resulting behavior of their individual dogs and put regulations in place to restrict and restrain any dangerous dog.