Excluding My Dog Is Excluding Me
The Dogs, People, and Housing Insurance Project
If you lost your homeowner’s insurance because of how your dog looks
If you were denied a rental because the landlord’s insurance policy won’t allow your dog
If you were forced to purchase an umbrella policy because of your dog’s breed label
If your dog is on your insurance company’s targeted breeds list
If you work in animal welfare and have experience with people who have no choice but to give up their dog
Let’s End Exclusionary Insurance Practices
The insurance industry uses arbitrary dog breed lists to deny homeowners and renters insurance coverage and discriminate against insurance consumers. You can stop this practice by writing your insurance commissioners to file a complaint.
Dog-owning insurance consumers often find out too late about dog breed restrictions, leaving them with two choices: either go underinsured or uninsured, or end their relationship with their beloved pet.
No one should ever have to make that choice, especially not at a time when so many already face housing insecurity.
Insurance Commissioners exist to protect the rights of insurance consumers… including dog-owning consumers!
Every state and US territory has a dedicated commissioner who wants to know about your experience with housing insurance discrimination.
Find your local Insurance commissioner below below and share your story!
Sample Letter or Email
To: NAME OF COMMISSIONER (listed below)
From: YOUR NAME & ADDRESS
Re: DENIAL BASED ON BREED – INS. CO. NAME (& ADDRESS IF AVAILABLE)
Dear [INSURANCE COMMISSIONER NAME]:
I am writing to you because [INSURANCE COMPANY NAME’S] has denied me insurance coverage because my pet dog is assumed to be a risk. [INSURANCE COMPANY] discriminated against me solely because of a breed label as they have never met my dog nor does my dog have any history of causing injury.. . I am a loving and responsible dog owner. When insurance companies exclude my dog they are excluding me. ” *Then you can go on to tell your commissioner about your dog and how important your dog is to you and your family. You can also talk about how being denied insurance has affected you.
Physical appearance and breed labels do not predict behavior. It is my hope that you will consider the information I have included and prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against pet owners like me.
To include references you can either download and print PDF to mail, download and attach PDF to your email, or provide the following link to the PDF in your letter http://bit.ly/3eZ8vcK
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and prompt attention to this matter.
also consider including a photo of you and your dog.
Tips for Filling Out Complaint Form
Complaint forms can seem lengthy and daunting. They ask for copious amounts of information. i.e. the name of the insurance company that denied you insurance, their address, their phone number, a policy number. However, only a few fields are actually required to submit. If you don’t have the additional information readily available, skip it. Most importantly you want to make your point in the “details of the complaint” and “desired resolution” sections.
Here are are examples on how to respond to those two sections.
Details of Complaint:
“[INSURANCE COMPANY NAME’S] has denied me insurance coverage because my pet dog is assumed to be a risk. [INSURANCE COMPANY] discriminated against me solely because of a breed label as they have never met my dog nor does my dog have any history of causing injury. I am a loving and responsible dog owner. When insurance companies exclude my dog they are excluding me. ”
Then you can go on to tell your commissioner about your dog and how important your dog is to you and your family. You can also talk about how being denied insurance has affected you.
Physical appearance and breed labels do not predict behavior. It is my hope that you will consider the information I have included and prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against pet owners like me. You can include this link for your commissioners to reference the research: http://bit.ly/3eZ8vcK
Your complaint form may have an upload section. Here you want to include proof of denial, if you have it. Including screenshots from insurance websites showing you were denied. You can upload a photo of you and your dog. You can also attach this downloadable PDF of research supporting your claim.
Tips for Animal Welfare Workers
There are many ways you can let your insurance commissioner know how breed restrictions affect your community.
Complaint forms are reserved for people who have been denied coverage but you can reach out via email, mail, or phone using the contact information for your state. Tell your local insurance commissioner how members of your community have been forced to give up their family pet because of these exclusionary and discriminatory policies.
Find your local insurance commissioner
Write a letter, send an email, call, or fill out a complaint form.
If you have questions or need assistance, contact us directly at 845-868-7559 or email@example.com.
Peni ‘ben’ Itula Sapini Teo – Insurance Commissioner (Western Zone)
Mailing:Office of the Governor
American Samoa Government
A P Lutali Executive Office Building
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Ricardo Lara – Commissioner of Insurance
Phone Main: 916-492-3500
Consumer Hotline: Out-of-state: 213-897-892, In State: 800-927-4357
Email: Contact Us
California Department of Insurance
300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1700
Sacramento, California 95814
Michael Conway – Commissioner of Insurance
Phone: 303-894-7490 (Consumer Services), or 800-930-3745
Mailing Address: Department of Regulatory Agencies
Division of Insurance
1560 Broadway, Suite 850
Denver, Colorado 80202
District of Columbia
Karima M. Woods, Acting Commissioner
Government of The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, 1050 First Street, NE, 801, Washington, DC 20002
David Altmaier – Commissioner of Insurance Regulation
Toll Free Phone: 1-877-MY-FL-CFO, or 1-877-693-5236
Mailing Address: Florida Department of Financial Services
Division of Consumer Services
200 East Gaines Street, Rm 101A
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0322
MICHELLE B. SANTOS – Banking and Insurance Commissioner
Mailling Address: Regulatory Division
PO Box 23607
GMF Barrigada, Guam 96921
1240 Army Drive
Barrigada, Guam 96913
Dana Popish Severinghaus, Acting Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance
Phone: 217-558-2757 or 312-814-2420
Illinois Department of Insurance
320 W. Washington Street, 4th Floor
Springfield, Illinois 62767-0001
James Donelon – Commissioner of Insurance
Phone: 225-342-5900 or 1-800-259-5300 or 800-259-5301
Online Complaint Form – Green (a lot of fields but most not required)
Mailing Address: Louisiana Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 94214
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9214
Eric Cioppa – Superintendent of Insurance
Phone: 207-624-8475 or 800-300-5000
Mailing Address: Department of Professional & Financial Regulation
Bureau of Insurance
#34 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0034
Kathleen Birrane – Commissioner of Insurance
Phone: 410-468-2000 or 1-800-492-6116
Mailing Address: Maryland Insurance Administration
200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Gary Anderson – Commissioner of Insurance
Phone: 617-521-7794 or 877-563-4467
Online Complaint Form Yellow
Mailing Address: Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR)
Massachusetts Division of Insurance
1000 Washington Street, 8th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02118-6200
Marlene Caride – Commissioner of Banking and Insurance
Phone: 1-800-446-7467 or 609-292-7272
State of New Jersey
Department of Banking and Insurance
20 West State Street
PO Box 325
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0325
Linda Lacewell – Superintendent of Financial Services
Phone: 1-800-342-3736 or 212-709-3500
Mailing Address: New York State Department of Financial Services
1 State Street
New York, New York 10004-1511
Mike Causey – Commissioner of Insurance
Phone: 919-807-6000 or 800-662-7777 or 800-546-5664
Email: Joyce.Johnson@ncdoi.gov (Deputy Commissioner, Consumer Services)
Mailing Address: NC Department of Insurance
1201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-1201
Chief Deputy Commissioner – Doug Slape
Phone: 512- 676-6000 or 800-578-4677
Mailing: Texas Department of Insurance
PO Box 149104
Austin, Texas 78714-9104
JONATHAN T. PIKE – Commissioner
Phone: 801-538-3800 or 800-439-3805
Mailing Address: Utah Insurance Department
PO Box 146901
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6901
Northern Marina Islands
MARK O. RABAULIMAN – Secretary of Commerce
Mailing: Commonwealth of the N Mariana Islands
Department of Commerce
Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Saipan, MP 96950
Virgin Island (U.S.)
TREGENZA A. ROACH – Lt. Governor/Commissioner
Email: Gwendolyn.Brady@lgo.vi.gov (Director, Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation)
Mailing Address: Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Division of Banking, Insurance, and Financial Regulation
1131 King Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 101
Christiansted, St. Croix, VI 00820