Insideoutsurance

Hello friendly readers. It’s Sasha, back at the job once again. Alpha Mom says she’s too angry to write a decent post and asked me to cover for her this week. She likes that I stay collected and calm in these situations.

Ahem.

Here I am basking in the glow of the snow. Thought you’d like that, those of you in the northern hemisphere anyway.

What situation is this of which I speak, you ask? Well, it started (sort of) with this letter that came earlier this month. Alpha Mom says I had to make it really small so that people wouldn’t bother to read all the personal information. But I forgot to do that.

 

The third line below the yellow bar is the critical piece.

It says, Reason for Non-RenewalUnacceptable dog kept on the premises: American White Shepherd.   I’m an unacceptable dog!  Actually, the agent says there’s a “dangerous dog” list and I (my ancestors, actually) am on it.

I’m a dangerous dog!

Secretly (that means don’t tell Alpha Mom) I’m kinda proud of my “dangerous dog” reputation. I mean, as far as the bears and the deer and the skunks  know, I am dangerous. I’d like to keep it that way.

But people?  They are another matter entirely. I love people, especially little people; they smell nice.

Here I am with the littlest people in our family:  Holly and Nolen. They’re from the Canadian side of the family.  Lucky!

 

Sharing my bone with Holly, 2015 visit

 

Nolen was fascinated with me, so his dad let him pet me. It tickled, but I didn’t care. He smelled good.
Here’s an earlier one with Holly. She just wanted to talk.

Still, I am related to those German Shepherds, though pretty far back. They used to make excellent guard dogs but these days they’re mostly used for search and rescue. Our noses are pretty good great.

Alpha Mom says be sure to talk about how our insurance company has been a thorn in our side for over a year now.

“Thorn in our side,” that was her phrase. I only know about thorns in my feet.

It all started when the Alphas decided to put up the yurt.

 

Photo credit to Dave Ackerman who always takes great pictures.

 

I’m actually not crazy about that yurt. But that’s because I’m not allowed in it. They say it’s because I’m not good at wiping my feet and it’s set right next to the pond that I am crazy about.  So, I generally just lie down on the front stoop when they go inside. Or in the dirt if I’m really wet. 

Alpha Mom keeps poking me. I guess I got a little off track.  OK, so the way I understand this, Alpha mom dropped in on this insurance agency lady a few years ago and told her we wanted to put up a yurt.

“A what?”

Yeah. That’s what they all say at first. So, Alpha Mom explained, it’s a portable house, round; it’s what the nomads use when they wander from pasture land to pasture land.

And no; we weren’t planning to move with it. We just wanted one to rent out for some income. (I think they were still paying off my TPLO surgery that year).

Anyway, the insurance agency lady says (and I quote her here from Alpha Mom’s notes).

“It’s an outbuilding so it’ll be automatically covered for 10% of your existing home. But I’ll look into it and let you know if there’s any problem.”  

Being that this was just what Alpha Mom wanted to hear, she took the fact that she never heard from not-to-be-named insurance agency lady as a sign that all was good to go. She ordered the yurt.

Now, if she had asked me, I’d have told her how wishful thinking generally gets one into a muddle. But she didn’t ask me and I don’t offer advice unless I’m asked.  It’s just a rule I have.

Well, things didn’t go well. Shortly before the yurt was due to be delivered in October, Alpha Mom did call the insurance agency lady back — just in case — and got the worst news ever. They couldn’t rent it. They could have it, it was an outbuilding, but no renters allowed. Something about liability.

Then, worse than that, in May last year, the Alphas got a letter explaining their homeowners insurance wasn’t going to be renewed. That time it was the “dangerous building” on the premises.  Something like that. Is there a “dangerous building list” too?

Irate, they marched into the office (they only seem to go to this office when they are marching; have you noticed that?) once again and — ignoring agent lady — they went right to the manager. We’ll call him John.  Well, John was very helpful.

He took a look at the yurt that very afternoon, got all the photos Alpha Mom had taken when the yurt was going up, and took the website address for the manufacturer and installer. They got their insurance reinstated pretty quickly.

They still couldn’t RENT the yurt. They could’t even put Alpha Mom’s office in the yurt (because she makes money so it’s called a business.)  But John was quite nice; he even scratched my head a few times.

So, we ended up with a very nice little guest cottage  yurt down by the pond. A day bed sleeps two, a butane cooker heats one pot, a commode takes care of other business during the night. I hear it’s quite nice inside. I wouldn’t know. Still not allowed in.

So this year it’s the “dangerous dog” issue. They’re hoping a little education will work once again — like it did for the yurt. They’ve got a nice letter from my nice vet, Dr. Hyde, at the Ryegate Small Animal Clinic, and one from my groomer at the Kingdom Canine Center. That’s also where I took my Manners classes when I was just a pup. I have very good manners, you know.

And, they’re copying all the nice things our AirBnB guests have said about me this winter.  Too bad some of them have really bad handwriting.  Oh well.

We have until July 19 to either get them to see the “error of their ways” (Alpha Mom said to use that) or get a new insurance company.  Our agency says they can’t help us.

Alpha Mom has called a few other insurance companies, of course. And a few of them don’t bother with any “dangerous dog” lists.  In fact, she even learned there are some States that don’t allow insurance companies to use such lists. But going with a new company means a lot more money and that’s what’s so tight now. It got even tighter since they can’t rent the yurt.

What gets Alpha mom really angry is that she thought an insurance agent was like a literary agent — someone who would work for her. But no; she says it’s more like self-publishing in the home insurance market. Insurance agencies have contracts with specific insurance companies and it’s those companies that call the shots. And they seem rather averse to risk.

Alpha Mom says that Americans tend to insure themselves up the gazoo and the companies get them to do that through fear. But what really gets her is that at the same time, Americans portray themselves with that cowboy swagger like they can take on any foe, alone.

So she’s  mad at the whole insurance industry. I can’t help her there. My “insurance” is simply being nice so she keeps feeding me. Actually, she loves me, so she’d feed me even if I weren’t nice. I guess I just like being nice. It makes everyone around me happy.

Too bad the insurance companies don’t have that attitude, huh?

Until next time: Woof.

How about you? Do you have any Non-Renewable insurance stories to tell? Use my Contact Me page or just tell us in the Comments below.  Thanks. 

Next week: When’s the last time you read the Declaration of Independence?

36 Responses

  1. Carolyn
    | Reply

    Well done, Sasha, for reminding us of the dire state we are in with insurance brokers. We have an annual battle too

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      They rule the roost these days. Woof. Thanks for the nod. Now, if you could just scratch that patch behind my ear … no the left one. Ahhhh.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  2. Merril Smith
    | Reply

    Sorry, Sasha and Janet. I don’t have anything to add about insurance.
    I would have thought the issues of renting and dogs would come from local government ordinances rather than an insurance agent. I didn’t know there was a
    “dangerous dogs” list. How ridiculous! That seems to be canine stereotyping of breeds.
    Merril Smith recently posted…EDITOR’S CHOICE: Jawbone: Homo sapiensMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Interesting idea, Merril. Insurance companies wield enormous power, as we saw in the lead up to the ACA, certainly. But it’s oozing over into other types of insurance too. Don’t get me started — that’s why I had Sasha write this. I’m still a bit edgy over it all.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  3. Dakota Butterfield
    | Reply

    We’ve had a really terrific experience with Cooperative Insurance. And they DO work for you, as it’s a cooperative, owned by the members who purchase insurance through it. It was originally founded by farmers who couldn’t afford regular insurance, but wanted to be protected in case of catastrophic loss. So they got together and agreed they would pool their resources if John’s barn burned down. That was 103 years ago, and it’s now a really successful insurance provider of all kinds, throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. They insure our home, our car and truck, our solar panels, and our kids’ cars. They just wrote us another policy for an excavator that Chris bought. At one point, they added a rider to our house policy so we could rent it for events (herbal workshops.) They have always been extremely responsive, helpful, and reasonable on price. For the last ten years, the local agent I’ve worked with is Mike Barrett, who has an office in St J; before that, his father was our insurance broker. Both outstanding men, and a credit to their communities. Good luck with your hunt for a new insurance agency. I wouldn’t continue to give Vermont Mutual my business, that’s for sure.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Yes, they’ve given us the best quote yet on replacement insurance — at almost twice the cost. But they don’t offer insurance to rent the yurt. We’re hoping to find that before we move. And move we certainly will.

      We’re actually hoping to find stories of others our age who have been dropped — compare details. We’ll see. So glad you stopped in. Thanks.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  4. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I hear your indignation here, Sasha ~ and Janet. Bureaucracy is a royal pain in the butt, canine or human. I also agree with Merril who mentions “the canine stereotyping of breeds.”

    At the moment, we are trying to maintain insurance coverage on a rental damaged by hurricane Irma last fall. Repairs have been done, but we’re hoping to forestall potential damage from falling pines by taking them down.

    My hope for you: full reinstatement!
    Marian Beaman recently posted…Morning Ablution, What’s Your Routine?My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      We have that falling tree issue here too. But we’re covered if a tree falls on our house and our deductible, even at $1000 is WAAAY less than it would cost to have the trees taken down. So, my mom (whose house is under this tree’s path) says leave it alone. We tried to get the insurance company to help pay to take them down, thinking they’d want to save money, but noooo. That’s not how they work. I’d love to know how insurance came about, way back when. Hmmm.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  5. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Sasha — I’m with Merril. I would never have thought that renting and dog issues would be governed by insurance. Rather, that they’d fall under the jurisdiction of the local government. Nor was I aware of a “dangerous dogs” list.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Lazy DazyMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      We learn something new everyday, don’t we Laurie? Even how convoluted some of our long standing traditions actually are.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  6. Kathleen Pooler
    | Reply

    Oh Sasha and Janet, this is beyond frustrating. I’m always happy to hear from Sasha but so sorry you’ve had to endure all these intricacies that make no sense! “Dangerous dog list” ???

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks Kathy, for hearing how frustrating this has been. I’m trying to glean the lesson in it for me, but so far I’m coming up empty. Patience maybe. Nah. Hugs to you and Wayne. And Sasha sends her regards to Max, of course.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  7. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    You don’t look very dangerous to me, Sasha. In fact, I think you look beautiful and I would love to run and play with you. Hope the insurance stuff gets sorted out. Dot the dog. bow wow

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks, Dot. I do think I’m quite the bitch. Alpha Mom says I have great self-esteem. And you, as I recall, are a hound dog. Rocking all the time, I trust.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  8. cherie
    | Reply

    It makes me so angry that a blanket clause against certain breeds can exist. It’s ridiculous. I have had several dogs that would be considered to be on a “dangerous dog” list, and they were nothing but sweet and calm. I have also had a chihuahua that would attack anything it saw. Dogs are individuals, just like people. Sorry you guys are having to deal with this!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I couldn’t agree more, Cherie. Thanks for sharing my anger. I appreciate it. I’ll be calling them tomorrow with a few questions.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  9. Brenda
    | Reply

    That seems insane to me that you are a dangerous dog. I mean really? Insurance takes into account animals when looking at property insurance? Sigh. A money grab for sure.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      It’s a liability thing, Brenda. And the insurance industry seems to want to reduce their risk to liability, no matter what it means to the family. Money is certainly a part of it. Sadly. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  10. Lise
    | Reply

    It’s crazy how such a sweet pup can be on a “Dangerous animal” list! I’d understand if there were a hundred of them to ruin property but one shouldn’t be enough to deny you insurance.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Lise. Thanks for swinging by. It just takes one biter to create a law suit. I now live in a very litigious country — and the company wants to minimize all chances of being taken to court. Fortunately, I have identified a few other insurance companies that would love to insure us — and allow us to rent our yurt. So, all in all, it may turn out well.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  11. Amy M. Reade
    | Reply

    We have been told we have a “liability dog,” but thankfully not by our insurance company (it was noted by our dog’s manners teacher). She’s the sweetest Bouvier in the world, but she has a rather fierce bark and her job is to protect us from bad guys and others, such as the UPS driver, the mail lady, and random strangers who walk down our street.

    I am sorry that you’re going through this. There are few things more frustrating than having to deal with red tape that has no business being in existence. Best of luck to the whole family–two-legged and four-legged!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Oh my. I’m so sorry to hear of your “liability” dog. It’s funny, the only human that Sasha has ever growled at was the chicken slaughter who showed up in very bloody coveralls. She even loves the UPS man. It’s just the four legged varieties that she barks at. She’s really perfect for us. Bouviers are beautiful dogs.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  12. Shannon
    | Reply

    Sounds like it’s time for a new insurance company! I agree, Americans have been conditioned to rely on insurance and it comes from a fear of LAWYERS and a litigation happy society. Your yurt looks like the perfect rental! And Sasha looks way too sweet. I hope you get it all figured out!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Shannon. We’ve gotten a few other quotes (I only recently learned I could call other companies. I had thought for the past year that if my company couldn’t do it, none of them could. Silly me) and one of them includes renting the yurt. It’ll cost us more, but hopefully we’ll make that back in rents. Fingers crossed. I’ve learned a lot, that’s for sure.
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  13. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    Hi Sasha and Janet,

    In our house, even though we don’t have a yurt or a “dangerous dog,” we call most insurance companies, “Crooks.” Especially health insurance. You send them tons of money and the restrictions on what they’ll do for you is criminal. Just my opinion, though. Max sends woof and would love to meet you.
    Joan Z. Rough recently posted…The Laws Of My NatureMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Joan. The irony in the insurance industry’s aversion to risk has occurred to me. Even their perception of risk is idiosyncratic. That’s a topic I love to write about actually — perception of risk; it varies so much! Hmmm. Another blog post in the works.

      Between your Max and Kathy’s Max (and I once had a lovely Max, a beagle that turned out to be a Maxine) Sasha has many Maxes in her life now. She’s thrilled. Come for a visit. You can stay in our yurt. 🙂
      Janet Givens recently posted…InsideoutsuranceMy Profile

  14. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    A dangerous dog list? Sasha? That pile of sweetness and fluff? *le sigh*

    I followed your yurt story fearing I knew where it was going. Uh huh. I hold insurance companies in very low regard, but your recent experience is lower than what I previously would have thought possible.

    I dunno… life just keeps getting weirder in this country.
    Ally Bean recently posted…A Summer State Of Mind: Seeing Clearly, Feeling MellowMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Ally, So sorry I missed seeing your Comment until now. Sasha and I have been focused on playing with visiting grandchildren. Insurance companies do wield much power, but I’m getting much more aware of how the perception of risk is so very subjective — and how readily we are willing to pay for it to go away. What would life look like if we and our immediate neighbors just canceled our home owners insurance? (once our mortgage is paid off). A home owners boycott! (probably not).
      Janet Givens recently posted…Happy Birthday, America!My Profile

  15. Deborah Hunter Kells
    | Reply

    Have been reading your insurance troubles with interest Janet. Here in Australia we too have issues with “dog breeds” – not that I think your kind is included – lovely looking dog! Also Insurance companies do seem to be a law unto themselves on occasion sadly. I guess the “love” of money gets in the way sometimes. It might be a different matter if it was closer to home methinks.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Deborah and welcome. I missed your comment earlier as it came in when I was focused on visiting grandkids (and their fathers). My apologies. This “law unto themselves” seems to be a running theme there among some commenters. How important our “peace of mind” has become to us. And perhaps it’s fed by how easy it is here to sue over the littlest things. Someone always has to take the blame. No more “accidents.” Now it’s finding who’s liable. Sigh.
      Janet Givens recently posted…Happy Birthday, America!My Profile

  16. Amelia
    | Reply

    This is so ridiculous. Not once have I ever seen an insurer even want to know about a dog! We have an Australian Shepherd and my insurer would be baffled if I even mentioned him. To then it’s irrelevant. So bizarre. Sorry you’re going through such stress!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Thank you so much, Amelia. That is kind of you to say. We have found a new agency; just 80% more money.

  17. Janet Morrison
    | Reply

    I have a homeowners insurance nightmare of a story from five years ago. After years of not filing a claim, we filed two claims in a three-year period totalling $1,200. We were given 21 days’ notice that we were such a huge risk that our insurance would not be renewed. Our two small claims had thrown us into the same category as NC beachfront property, although we’re 200 miles inland. Our state’s insurance commissioner said we had no recourse. Long story short: It took us 20 days to obtain homeowners insurance at a cost of more than $3,000 per year for the next three years. After those three horrible years, things went back to normal — with a different insurance company, of course. We were told that if our home had been completely destroyed, the company we were with would have spent $200,000+ to replace our house and our insurance policy would have been renewed, no problem. Our very expensive mistake was filing two small claims within a three-year period. By the way, your dog is absolutely beautiful! We had a German Shepherd when I was a teenager. He was the most gentle dog I’ve ever known. How dare your insurance company say Sasha is an unacceptable dog! I’d still be furious if I were you!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Janet. I’m sorry your comment fell through the cracks somehow. I’m very glad to hear — well, that’s not the best word — your insurance nightmare story. They wield enormous power. And one I don’t think has been sufficiently appreciated. Every story helps. What I most like about Shepherds is their auditory sensitivity. You don’t ever have to yell at them. I talk to Sasha and she knows enough words to figure it out. When we go away and she’s outside, we need only say, “Sorry; you need to stay home today” and she stops walking with us and returns to the backyard. I never worked with her on that command. I worked on Come, Sit, Down, and Leave It. She’s got those down pat. Stay, however, is difficult for her. And she will NOT fetch like a normal dog. She plays keep away.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

  18. Claire Saul
    | Reply

    Sasha, you beautiful girl – my whole family have fallen in love with you and want to come and stay in your yurt!! I have shared your post on my PainPalsBlog regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire x

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hello Claire and Welcome. Sasha’s off guarding our chickens at the moment, so let me take this opportunity to thank you for your very kind words. What’s become quite amusing to us these past few weeks is how much every one of our AirBnB guests fall in love with Sasha. I’m so glad you too have fallen in love with her. We’d love to have you check out our Yurt. It’s listed on AirBnB in Danville, Vermont.
      Janet Givens recently posted…My Ode to AugustMy Profile

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