Do you need dog liability insurance?

Now that you’ve got your Haftpflichtversicherung, you can go out and raise hell. You’re covered. However, things get a bit hairy if your horse or dog decides to go rogue. Since dogs are a more common (and apartment-friendly) pet here, let’s take a look at dog liability insurance (Hundehaftpflichtversicherung).

What is dog liability insurance?

As a dog owner, you are liable for any personal injury, property damage or financial loss caused by your dog. While gazing at the injured party with puppy-dog eyes might be a get-out-of-jail-free card in other countries, this will not cut it in Germany. Your dog chewing up your best friend’s shoes? Not such a big deal. Your dog running out into the road and causing a pile-up? Rather a big deal. With dog liability insurance, you’re covered – however big or small the accident or mishap.

What are the benefits of dog liability insurance?

Well, the obvious benefit is that you won’t be financially ruined if your dog suddenly decides to cause some mayhem. Dog liability insurance usually includes the following damages:

  • Personal injuries (e.g. compensation for pain and suffering, treatment costs after a bite)
  • Material damage (e.g. a dog destroys your guest’s expensive coat)
  • Financial losses as a result of personal injury or damage to property (e.g. loss of earnings of an injured party)

Damage to rented property is also often covered by dog liability insurance. The insurance cover usually covers damage to rented property exclusively in residential premises and other premises rented for private purposes.

In which federal states is dog liability insurance mandatory?

Taking out dog liability insurance is only a legal requirement in six federal states in Germany:

  • Berlin
  • Hamburg
  • Niedersachsen
  • Sachsen-Anhalt
  • Schleswig-Holstein
  • Thüringen

However, it’s highly recommended that all dog owners take out dog liability insurance, even if it’s not mandatory in the state you live in. A person in Bavaria could just as easily trip over your dog as a person in Berlin and, wherever you are, you’ll be liable.

What does dog liability insurance cover?

Let’s start with what it doesn’t cover – any damages your dog causes to you personally, or the other people who live under your roof. So, if your dog decides to have a slobber on your new Manolo Blahniks, you’re out of luck.

Dog liability insurance only covers damages caused to third parties or their property.

‍How high should the amount of coverage be?

Luko will cover you up to an amount of €30 million. This might sound like a lot but consider the pile-up example – wrecked cars, hospital stays, medical expenses, loss of earnings… your boisterous little buddy could easily put you in the poorhouse.

On a smaller scale, if your dog decides your best friend’s Manolos are the ideal place to take a poop, you’re also covered.

How much does dog liability insurance cost?

How much your dog liability insurance costs, essentially depends on the two following points:

  • The breed of dog
  • The age of the owner

Example insurance premium:

  • Owner: 30 year, Dog breed: labrador costs around 68.39 EUR
  • Owner: 30 year, Dog breed: Pitbull 113.99 EUR

When does the insurance cover start?

There’s no waiting around with dog liability insurance. Your dog is insured the day after you take take out the policy, provided you can pay for it, of course. No free rides here, folks.

Is my dog insured if he’s with a dog sitter or dog walker?

Yes, the same conditions apply if your dog is out for a walk with the dog sitter or dog walker as if he’s out with you. And if, one day, doggy gets a bit peckish and decides the sitter looks kind of tasty, that’s also covered.

Is my dog insured abroad? 

If your dog’s got Wanderlust and would quite like to go with you on that trip you’ve been planning, your insurance will cover any damages caused by the dog within the EU. If your travels take you further afield, your dog is covered outside the EU for up to five years. After that, you’ll have to take out local dog liability insurance.

What if my dog gets another dog pregnant?

Uh oh, you’ve got a horny Hund on your hands and he’s got another dog pregnant without that owner’s consent. As the owner of the male dog, you are liable for all costs that arise in this situation – and this can get expensive quickly. For example:

  • The cost of an abortion
  • Costs for veterinary care of the female dog
  •         Long-term costs of keeping and caring for the puppies

If you have dog liability insurance, it will cover all costs incurred by the female dog’s owner. And you’ll probably want to give that horny dog a serious talking to as well.

What if my own dog has puppies? Are they automatically insured?

With Luko, any puppies born after the commencement of the insurance contract on the mother are also automatically covered by the insurance policy for the first year of their life.

‍Does my dog have to be on a leash to be covered?

Different states have different laws on where and when your dog has to be leashed but no, the insurance pay-out is not dependent on whether your dog is leashed or not. Most cities have off-leash zones – click here to see where they are in Berlin.

What if my dog damages my rented apartment?

Dogs can cause a lot of damage in rented apartments. If your dog scratches the floors and doors, you are liable. With Luko, this is covered by our basic protection policy. The good news is that dog owners are also protected if the dog decides to go Rambo on a holiday flat.

However, damage due to wear and tear is not insured. If the parquet floor has been damaged by the dog’s claws over the years, the dog owner must pay for the renovation work out of his own pocket.

What if my dog dies?

A sad note to end on and one we hope you don’t have to deal with for a very long time. If your dog dies or you have to give it away for whatever reason, the insurance risk is eliminated. In this case, your dog liability insurance expires.

What dogs are counted as dangerous in Germany?

According to § 1 of the Dog Movement and Import Restriction Law, the following breeds are dangerous and therefore may not be imported, bred or traded in Germany:

Dog liability insurance and taxes

Is dog liability insurance tax deductible?

Yes, it is. Contributions for dog liability can be declared on your income tax return. Liability insurance policies serve the financial protection of the policyholder and can therefore be claimed as precautionary expenses in your declaration.

For the tax deductibility of such insurance contributions, however, there are maximum amounts for precautionary expenses, which are usually already exhausted by health and care insurance contributions. If this is not the case, contributions for dog owner liability and various other types of insurance can be claimed in the income tax return.

For employees and civil servants, the maximum amount according to income tax law (§ 10 paragraph 4, sentence 2) is €1,900 per year. The limit for self-employed people and freelancers is €2,800 (2018). In the case of married couples assessed together, the joint maximum amount is calculated as the sum of the maximum amounts to which both partners are entitled on the basis of employment.

Is dog liability insurance taxed?

Yes, dog liability insurance is subject to insurance tax. This tax is levied by the federal government. According to the Insurance Tax Act, the insurance tax for dog liability insurance is 19 percent (as of 2018) and is already included in your insurance premium. 

What are the benefits of taking out dog liability insurance with Luko?

We’re glad you asked! There are several unique advantages to being covered with Luko's dog liability insurance, namely:

  • No deductible
  • We insure all breeds of dogs
  • There is no minimum contract term
  • Daily cancellation of your contract is possible
  • Monthly payment option

So, there you have it. If you don’t live in one of the six federal states listed above, you’re under no obligation to take out dog liability insurance. However, a dog is a dog no matter what state they live in so there’s always a risk something could happen that you will be financially liable for. With Luko, you can pay your dog liability insurance monthly which makes it even more affordable – a small price to pay for peace of mind. And your dog can even go for a walk in your best friend’s Manolo Blahniks afterwards – you’ll be covered (and entertained).

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