OGC Op. No. 04-01-08

This Office of General Counsel issued the following information on January 7, 2004 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Dog Bite Exclusion in a Homeowner’s Policy

The Department received an inquiry concerning whether an insurer’s homeowner’s insurance policy form, which included a dog bite exclusion, was approved by the Department. The exclusion was described as follows:

Coverage for any injuries to others or property of others caused by certain animals owned by or in the care of the insured will be excluded. This dog liability exclusion is added to exclude:

the following types of pure bred dogs:

American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, all commonly known as Pit Bulls;

Doberman Pinschers;


Chows; or

Presa Canarios


dogs that have been trained to attack persons, property or other animals;

dogs that have been trained guard persons or property;

any dog used in any manner, as a fighting dog or bred specifically for fighting;

any dog with a prior history of biting or attacking persons, property or other animals as established through insurance claims records, or through the records of local public safety, law enforcement or other similar regulatory agency;

any dog that has not had inoculations as required by law.

It was confirmed that the policy form with the above quoted dog liability exclusion was approved by the Department in 2002, in accordance with N.Y. Ins. Law § 2307 (McKinney 2004), which provides that:

Except as otherwise provided herein, no policy form shall be delivered or issued for delivery unless it has been filed with the superintendent and either he has approved it, or thirty days have elapsed and he has not disapproved it as misleading or violative of public policy.

For further information you may contact Supervisory Attorney Joan Siegel at the New York City Office.