Dog Breed Exclusions

PA Dog Breed Exclusion

Some insurers tend to exclude certain dogs from homeowners’ or other liability insurance policies based on the breed rather than the biting history of the dog. Members occasionally inquire to know whether the practice is or is not allowed in the state where the policy is issued.

In response to complaints received from residents of the Commonwealth, the Insurance Department reviewed the relevant provisions of the Unfair Insurance Practices Act (40 P.S. §1117.5(a)(9)) and the Dangerous Dog Law (3 P.S. § 459-507-A). The Department’s latest interpretation is that there is no statutory prohibition against an insurer refusing to issue a policy based on the breed of dog in a home. However, once a policy has been issued and has been in force for 60 or more days, there is a prohibition against the termination of a policy based ‘solely’ on the breed of dog in the home.
The biting history of a dog or its dangerous propensity, regardless of its breed, is an acceptable factor for nonrenewal of a policy based on an increase in hazard.

Statutory references

3 P.S. §459-507-A (d) Insurance coverage discrimination. – No liability policy or surety bond issued pursuant to this act or any other act may prohibit coverage from any specific breed of dog.”
40 P.S. §1117.5(a)(9) Unfair Insurance Practices Act – Canceling any policy of insurance covering owner-occupied private residential properties or personal property of individuals that has been in force for sixty days or more or refusing to renew any such policy unless the policy was obtained through material misrepresentation, fraudulent statements, omissions or concealment of fact material to the acceptance of the risk or to the hazard assumed by the company; or there has been a substantial change or increase in the risk assumed by the company subsequent to the date the policy was issued […]