How To Dog Liability Insurance

Why do I need dog liability insurance? What's covered and what's not?

Article

4 minute read

2020-03-19

Sometimes even the cutest puppy dog eyes are not enough to make up for what happened. In these cases, dog liability insurance can help you. Find out when it pays and what you have to watch out for in our how-to guide for dog liability.

Your guide to dog liability insurance

Your roommate's new shoes have been chewed, the flat screen TV was broken while your dog was romping around in the living room of your parents-in-law and then the dog sitter tripped over the leash while walking the dog. A day in the life of a dog owner is full of little accidents and mishaps. With dog owner's liability insurance you can be carefree, even if your furry friend has been up to no good. But exactly what kinds of damage and losses does the insurance protect you against? Will your dog have to be kept on a leash from now on? We explain this and everything else worth knowing about dog owner's liability here.

What is dog liability insurance?

Dog liability insurance protects you financially in case your dog causes personal injury, property damage or financial losses. Whether you have a crazy Collie or a lazy Labrador, your dog can cause all kinds of accidents – from small mishaps to more serious injuries. While it might not be a big problem if your dog chews up the favourite cuddly toy of your best friend, it can be very expensive if your dog causes personal injury to someone else. As the owner you are liable for all (!) damages caused by your pet. Even if it’s out of sheer clumsiness, that your dog runs dreamily onto the cycle path and an evasive cyclist falls: In such a case, the dog owner is liable for any resulting personal injury or material damage. Then your dog liability insurance comes into play and, in the event of a lawsuit, also covers the costs of the lawsuit. If more serious legal action should be taken, it can be particularly expensive for the dog owner concerned. To be prepared for such cases, we recommend that you supplement your dog owner's liability insurance with additional legal protection insurance.

Isn’t my dog already covered by my personal liability insurance?

No, damages caused by your dog are usually excluded from the coverage of your personal third-party liability insurance. Cats, and many smaller animals such as guinea pigs, are usually covered by personal liability insurance, as is the case with Getsafe’s insurance. For dogs and also for horses and other farm animals, you need separate liability insurance.

Is dog liability insurance mandatory?

Depending on where you live, dog liability insurance may be required by law. If you live in any of the following federal states in Germany, you need to have insurance for your dog.*

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Lower Saxony
  • Saxony-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thuringia

What’s covered by the insurer and what isn’t?

In principle, we will pay for damage to third parties or their property up to a maximum of 20 million euros (with the Premium tariff even for up to 50 million euros). This can happen sooner than you think. For example, if your dog gets too excited, runs in front of a bicycle and the cyclist falls and fractures his or her arm. The insurer will also pay the compensation if the injured party is unable to work for a long time.

Cases in which you or your property are harmed by your own dog are not covered. If your dog chews and ruins your shoes, for example, dog owner’s liability insurance will not cover you. Other exceptions include injuries to people who live with you and your dog, as well as any damage to their property. So family members and your partner will not be covered. If this concerns you, you should consider an accident insurance policy.

Is my dog also insured when the dog sitter takes it for a walk?

Yes, your dog sitter is included in the dog liability insurance. The same insurance conditions apply as for you when you take your dog for daily walks. Let’s say your dog gets a little hungry from all that walking and decides to bite the dog sitter. Don’t worry: If the injured dog sitter makes a claim against you, your insurance will cover it.

Is my dog also insured abroad?

How cool would it be to take your dog on a trip and show it some more of the world? With dog liability insurance, you can do that without any worries. Within the EU, your dog owner's liability insurance is unlimited. If the journey takes you further away, you are also fully covered for up to five years. However, in case you move to another country and are no longer registered in Germany, you will have to take out a new dog liability policy with a local insurance company.

In addition, you can count on us to cover you for possible bail payments abroad. Never heard of it? It can happen that, as a result of a liability claim abroad, you are required by the authorities to first pay a deposit to secure payment. The insurer will pay this up to 100,000 euros. The deposit amount is then offset against the actual damage amount. If you have the premium tariff, the insurer will even pay up to 500,000 euros.

Do I always have to keep my dog on a leash so that it is insured?

Whether or not your dog is wearing a muzzle and a leash is not the deciding factor in whether the insurance company pays out or not. You do not necessarily have to keep your dog on a leash at all times to ensure that the insurance cover applies. Even if your dog runs into the street and causes an accident, your insurer will still pay for the damage.

Are certain breeds of dogs excluded from this insurance coverage?

When you're insured with Getsafe, no breed of dog is excluded from coverage. Getsafe offers dog owners insurance coverage that is available to everyone equally – no matter what breed your dog is. Many insurers exclude certain breeds of dogs, especially so-called fighting dogs, from coverage or charge significantly higher premiums. These types of dogs are assumed to be particularly aggressive and therefore their risk of causing a claim is higher. We do not believe that certain dogs are by nature more aggressive. Our opinion is that any dog can have a mishap, regardless of breed.

You can find out more about the muzzle and leash obligation and other legal requirements for dog owners here.

Can I insure several dogs?

Sure, with our dog liability insurance you can insure up to nine dogs! If you have a new four-legged family member, you can easily add another dog to your insurance policy in just a few clicks using the Getsafe app.

What if my dog has puppies?

As long as the puppy is in your care, it will be co-insured with its mother for up to 12 months. During this time you don't need to worry about anything else but cuddling and loving.

Is damage caused by my dog in a rented apartment also covered?

When dogs are home alone, they can quickly get bored – and you may be able to see signs of this boredom on your doors, walls, and other rented objects. Your insurance will cover damage caused by your dog to rented items, even if you were not there when it occurred.

The same applies if your dog can't wait to go for a walk and a smelly 'accident' occurs. If this causes damage to your rented accommodation, the insurer will assist you.

What if your landlord is causing you stress and threatening to forbid you from keeping a dog? They are not allowed to impose an outright ban on pets – every case has to be handled individually.

How much does dog liability insurance cost?

The monthly cost of dog liability insurance is based on five factors: your excess, your age, the number of dogs to be insured, the number of previous claims, and the size of your dog. Getsafe is in the process of developing a visual recognition system that will record the breed and size of your dog from a photo. This feature will make it easier for you to calculate your premium. But even now, it's pretty easy. If you download the Getsafe app, you can easily get a quote tailored to your situation without any obligation. It takes less than two minutes!

What are the advantages of the premium plan?

With Getsafe’s Premium dog liability insurance, the sum insured is higher than with the standard “Comfort” plan. We will pay for claims up to 20 million euros. In addition, we also cover you for potential deposit payments for claims abroad. In liability cases abroad, some authorities may require you to pay a deposit to guarantee the payment. The insurer will cover this up to 100,000 euros. The amount of the deposit will then be deducted from the actual amount of the claim.

Another feature of the premium tariff is the Best Performance Guarantee. This means that if you find an insurer licensed in Germany that offers you better conditions for the specific case at the time of the insured event, we will match the conditions of this insurer for the insured  event in question. Better conditions could include extended benefits, higher compensation limits (up to the sum insured under your contract), or a lower excess. If you want to make use of the Best Performance Guarantee, you will need to do your research. Find out whether another insurer is offering better conditions and simply submit the relevant documentation as proof.

What are the advantages of the Emergency Dog Support extension?

With the Emergency Dog Support extension, three additional benefits are available to you:

  • If your dog is bitten by another dog and needs veterinary treatment, you may need to use your dog liability insurance. Veterinary expenses coverage takes over up to 3,000 euros, if the owner of the other dog cannot be identified, cannot pay the costs, or has no insurance protection.
  • Does your dog like daredevil adventures or does he like to get lost in the forest because of his hunting instinct? Then it is certainly helpful if your dog owner liability insurance also covers search, rescue, and recovery costs. We will cover costs of up to 3,000 euros to bring your dog back to you safe and sound.
  • If you cannot take care of your dog because you are an inpatient in a hospital or rehabilitation facility due to illness or an accident, we will cover the costs of placing your dog in a kennel for up to 3,000 euros. This means you can concentrate on getting better, knowing that your dog is well taken care of.

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*https://www.finanzen.de/tierhalterhaftpflicht/hundehaftpflicht/bundeslaender

Author: Carina