Driving dogs? Really? Yes, really. A charity in New Zealand recently began teaching shelter dogs how to drive — not only because it’s adorable, but also to show potential owners how intelligent dogs can be. Though the cars are modified (how’s a Schnauzer supposed to reach the pedals on a regular car?), the dogs do everything from starting the car to accelerating, braking, changing gears, and steering.

This video comes courtesy of ITN News:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chrzpnL1OEM?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Of course, watching this video got us thinking. What would be required to insure driving dogs? Is licking oneself at a red light considered distracted driving? Does pooping on the seat constitute an accident? Let’s find out.

Tell us about yourself and your car

Year: 2012
Make: Mini Cooper
Primary use: Business (This joyride is all about getting adopted!)
Estimated annual mileage: 10 (I’m only allowed to drive on a closed track.)
Ownership status: Hoping to find an owner soon.
First name: Sparky
Last name: the Dog
Marital status: Does sniffing each other’s behinds make it official?
Age: 3 (That’s 21 in people years.)
Email: Um, I’m a driving dog, not a tech nerd.
Primary residence: Shelter
Employment status: Full-time
Profession: Heart-warmer
Traffic violations: Have you seen how slowly that car goes?
Prior accidents: Not since I’ve been potty trained.

Liability coverages

Bodily injury: $100,000/$300,000 limit
Being cute doesn’t pay a lot, and I don’t want to put myself at financial risk if I accidentally hit my trainer.
Property damage: $10,000 limit
Can’t do too much damage on a closed track.
Medical and funeral services: Decline
No thank you. I’ve seen Pet Sematary.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury & property damage: $50,000/$100,000 limit
All those inexperienced new pups on the road seem to skimp on insurance.

Vehicle coverages

Comprehensive: Decline
Hitting an animal?! What kind of monster do you think I am?
Collision coverage: Decline
Not going fast enough to do that much damage.
Towing and labor: Decline
I just need a leash.
Rental car coverage: Decline
My feet wouldn’t reach the pedals of a rental car.
Customized parts and equipment: $4,000 limit
This car is tricked out just for me!

Since dogs would be incredibly expensive to insure (and since most dogs still can’t drive), we’ll just have to be content with having dogs as our copilots … for now. Check out our tips on how to get your dog to love the car.

Oh, and just in case you’re planning to teach your dog to take the wheel, our insurance experts asked me to warn you that we do not pay for claims related to driving dogs — it’s a Department of Insurance thing, I think.

Related links

Learn more about the driving dogs
Driving with pets

Around the nation


about Jessica

During her time as senior copywriter at Esurance, Jessica wrote about everything from automotive trends to insurance tips to driving dogs (it’s a thing!). In her free time, you can find Jessica hiking with her dog (who cannot drive), devouring a good mystery, or very slowly learning Spanish.