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A Barking Christmas Present – Buying a Dog For Christmas

So you are thinking about buying a dog for a Christmas gift. I’m sure your kids are going to be ecstatic and promise to take care of him, which means you will be taking the dog for a walk every day, feeding him, and cleaning up after his “accidents.”

When it comes to dogs as pets you may want to consider the following:

Pet Insurance

A growing trend in the United States is buying insurance for pets. These insurance policies are unique and generally cover costs if a dog has to have surgery.  Some policies will routine visits to the veterinarian or vaccinations.  Policies typically exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Is Pet Insurance right for you? If you have a healthy dog you may be better off putting money in a bank account that would pay for bills over time instead of buying pet insurance.

I recently received a quote online for a new puppy that would weigh between 30 and 50 lbs when fully grown. The insurance would cost me over $780 a year and comes with a $250 deductible.  Even though it would include Wellness Visits, I’m still paying $250 for the visit.  So each year I’m spending about $1,030.  Over 10 years that’s $10,300, assuming he has no major medical issues.

Consumer Reports did a fantastic job of comparing some Pet Insurance policies and providing some good questions to ask about the kind of coverage an insurance company is offering.

One point of advice about Pet Insurance. Most insurance policies are not subject to regulation by the Department of Insurance in your state.  This means that if you have a complaint against the insurance company that you want to file with the state, they can’t do anything for you.

McGruff takes a Bite…out of you

A controversial subject about dogs is the perception that certain breeds bite. Pit Bulls are a common example.  I’m of the opinion that it’s all about how you raise the dog that is the key factor.  However, when it comes to insurance companies they have a different perspective.  There are some dog breeds that insurance carriers do not want to insure.  For example, if you buy one of the following breeds your homeowners or renters insurance company may have a problem with it:

  • Pit Bulls & Staffordshire Terriers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Chows
  • Great Danes
  • Presa Canrios
  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Wolf-hybrids

With the above breeds insurance carriers want to exclude liability coverage from the dog injuring another person. And I’m not talking about a dog bite claim. The injury could be a dog knocking somebody down to the ground.

To an insurance company the above breeds represent the bulk of liability claims that they have had to pay over the years.

I highly recommend that before you buy a dog you talk to your insurance company or insurance agent about the breed of dog you are thinking about to see if there is any problem. The last thing you want to do is buy a dog and find out later that the insurance carrier will decide to exclude liability coverage or non-renew your policy.

Dog Training & Obedience

A couple years ago I was visiting a friend and his large Golden Retriever came out to greet me. The dog is friendly.  When he ran up to me he put his paws on my shoulders and knocked me down to the ground.  Thankfully, I was okay, but I could see how someone could get hurt

A good way to lower the chance of a dog accidently hurting someone is to take the dog for obedience training. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers has an online search tool to help you find a trainer in your area.

Dogs make great pets that your kids will love, but with them come additional responsibilities that you need to consider.

Scott Harrigan

About Scott Harrigan

Scott started his career in insurance in 1988 and joined Rue Insurance in 2004 as a Marketing Specialist focusing on creating effective risk financing and risk transfer programs for companies and non-profit organizations. In addition to this he is a member of the Rue Insurance educational team that provides ongoing professional development in critical insurance concepts and programs to Rue employees. About Scott | More Posts by Scott