There is a lot of information going around about the current situation with the XL Bully breed in the UK. However, if you own an XL Bully, are you still able to be insured or were you struggling to find an insurance policy from the start?
Let’s have a look at what options you have as an XL Bully owner regarding insurance.
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What is an XL Bully?
An XL Bully is a breed that has been developed by dog breeders across the world. The breed is not recognised by the Kennel Club in both the UK and the USA. The XL is the largest of the “Bully” breeds and is a variety of the American Bully. It was first developed in the 80’s and 90’s. The breed was developed by crossing an American Pitbull with other Bulldog breeds.
Pitbulls are banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The UK government is adding the XL Bully to the banned breed list within the UK, and are currently working on guidelines as to what type of dog characteristics falls into the category of an XL Bully.
What is the Dangerous Dogs Act?
The Dangerous Dogs Act was put into place by the government as legislation that protects the public from dog attacks.
Currently, there are 4 dogs banned within the UK where the sale, breeding, ownership or exchange of the dog is illegal, unless there is an official exemption. The breeds originally included:
- Japanese Tosa
- Pit bull
- Dogo Argentino
- Filo Brasileiro
The XL Bully has now joined this list as a result of a series of high-profile incidents.
Can XL Bully dogs be insured?
There is a bit of a grey area when it comes to insuring XL Bullies, but on the whole they are likely not to be covered on an insurance policy. Currently, many pet insurers will not cover dogs that are classed as dangerous.
However, as the breed is not registered by the Kennel Club, it can be hard to classify what an XL Bully is as a breed. When taking out insurance, many insurers will ask what breeds make up your dog if you try to insure them as a ‘mongrel’ or ‘crossbreed’. Usually, you will be required to declare the dominant breed within the mix.
You may have to look for a specialist insurance policy that will cover an XL Bully.
With the XL Bully not being a recognised breed, the Dangerous Dogs Act categorises dogs by their characteristics. This means that if your dog displays the characteristics and appearance of a banned breed, then they are at risk of being ‘banned’ or ‘restricted’.
It is not just XL Bullies that can be exempt from insurance policies. Many other more common breeds may have exclusions or even, in some cases, be uninsurable due to the likely high cost of vets bills. Breeds such as Great Danes, Akitas and even German Shepherds can sometimes be difficult to insure, and this can be due to their suspected temperament.
Each pet insurer will have its own rules on what animals they will insure. If you are unsure, then the best thing to do is contact insurance companies directly.
Third party liability cover
It is important that you take out third party liability cover, no matter what dog you own. This insurance covers damage to members of the public and public property and is often required for dogs on the banned breed list.
The Dogs Trust UK currently offers public liability insurance. This policy does cover banned breeds that are correctly registered within the UK.
More information regarding XL Bullies and insurance can be found on the Dogs Trust website.
What are the alternatives to pet insurance?
You can think of pet insurance as a pot of money that can be used for health cover when required – you’re essentially paying into an “account” that you may or may not use.
However, it is important to understand that regardless of your payments, your insurance will have a cap for treatment. For example, some policies may only pay up to £4,000 per year, regardless of how much you have paid over the course of your pets lifetime.
Now, I’m not saying to not insure your pet and open a savings account instead, unless you think that this would suit you better. Pet insurance is fantastic and should be an absolute necessity for any pet owner.
But when we’re thinking about uninsurable pets, your best option would be to set aside money every month just in case a hefty vets bill was needing to be paid.
Alternatives to pet insurance include loans, credit cards or borrowing money from friends and family. However, money should only ever be borrowed responsibly and the repayment criteria should be fully understood.
Final thoughts on XL Bully Insurance
It is important to remember that currently, XL Bullies are illegal within the UK unless their owner has an exemption certificate. More information can be found on the government website about this.
No matter what pet you have, you should always take out an insurance policy where possible. It might be that some insurance companies will be able to offer you insurance, you may just need to speak with them directly.