Your dog is at your side as a faithful companion. You prefer to spend every free minute together. However, your four-legged friend represents a private liability risk. Even if your housemate is a friendly, well-trained dog, something unforeseen can always happen. Animals act and react instinctively. In some federal states, pet owner liability insurance is mandatory for dog owners. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know as a dog owner about pet owner liability insurance. We answer the most frequently asked questions and support you and your four-legged friend in case of damage.
Do I need my own liability insurance as a pet owner?
It depends on which animals you keep privately. A liability insurance for pet owners is definitely useful for you if you keep dogs, horses, ponies or donkeys, because you are liable with your private assets for all damages caused by your animals. And that in unlimited height!
The law says: "If an animal kills a person or injures the body or health of a person or damages a thing, the person who keeps the animal is obliged to compensate the injured person for the resulting damage.” (§ 833 BGB)
With animal liability insurance, you protect yourself as a dog owner or as an owner of riding and draught animals, such as ponies, horses and donkeys, against claims for damages from third parties. A "third party" is a person to whom your animal causes damage to property, personal injury or financial loss. If your dog destroys the carpet during a visit to a neighbouring house, the damage is kept within reasonable limits. The situation is different if he runs into the street and causes an accident involving several people.
Liability insurance for dog owners is now compulsory in the six federal states of Berlin, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.
Even a dear, well-behaved dog and a calm, well-balanced horse can cause damage. An animal is considered unpredictable.
A few examples of damage:
- While walking in the woods, your dachshund breaks free of its leash, chases after a jogger and bites his calf.
- Your shepherd jumps joyfully up at other people. When he does this to a young boy, he loses his balance and hits his head on a stone.
- When crossing a road, your horse gets frightened, goes through and causes a serious traffic accident with several injured people.
- Your horse suddenly loses balance and hits a passer-by with his hoof.
Especially in the case of personal injury, you may be faced with six- to seven-figure claims. Without liability insurance for pet owners, you are financially ruined. A liability insurance for pet owners protects you from claims for damages in case of damages caused by your animal. For tame pets like cats, birds and rabbits, you do not need a separate liability insurance for animals. They are automatically included in your private liability insurance.
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What benefits does pet owner liability insurance offer me?
Similar to private liability insurance, pet owner's liability insurance covers three major tasks for you:
- It checks claims that come your way because your dog, horse or donkey caused damage.
- If the claim is justified, your pet owner's liability insurance will settle the claim for you.
- Unjustified claims are fended off by your pet owner's liability insurance. It functions here as "passive" legal protection insurance. If there is a lawsuit in which the question of guilt is clarified, the pet owner's liability insurance pays for lawyer fees and court costs.
In the event of justified claims for compensation, your pet owner's liability insurance will pay compensation. It covers personal injury, damage to property and financial losses, for example due to loss of earnings. In some cases, damage to rental property is also included.
For which animals do I need pet owner liability insurance and for which not?
A pet owner's liability insurance is often referred to as "liability insurance for dogs" or "liability insurance for horses." This already shows which species of animals are mainly concerned.
You do not have to insure tame pets such as cats, birds and small animals such as hamsters and bees separately. Any damage caused by these animals will be covered by your private liability insurance.
For which animals can I take out separate pet owner liability insurance?
In principle, you can insure the following animals with pet owner's liability insurance:
- horses, other riding and draught animals (pony, donkey) or farm animals (e.g., cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry)
- wild animals (e.g., snakes, spiders)
- animals for commercial or agricultural purposes
You need separate insurance for your beloved four-legged friend. With Luko, you can quickly and easily insure your dog. In our dog liability insurance, however, we cannot currently insure the following dog breeds. This usually includes the following dog breeds and crossbreeds, which include these dog breeds:
- American Bulldog
- (American) Pit Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier (Staffordshire Terrier)
- Bull Terrier
- Cane Corso/Cane Corso Italiano
- Argentine Dogo
- Dogo Canario (Perro de Presa Canario, Canary Dog)
- Dogue de Bordeaux (Dogue de Bordeaux, Mastiff of Bordeaux)
- Fila Brasileiro (Brazilian Mastiff)
- Mastin Espanol
- Mastino Napoletano
- Perro de Presa Mallorquín
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Staffordshire Bull Terrier)
- Tosa Inu (Japanese fighting dog, Tosa Ken, Tosa Token)
as well as all crossings with and breeds from these dog breeds. This also includes the so-called "Bandog."
With the above-mentioned dog breeds, other or different names or spellings may apply. In cases of doubt, just ask us.
Which damages are covered by pet owner's liability?
Your pet owner's liability covers property damage, personal injury and financial losses caused by your animals to third parties. Third parties are people who are not covered by the insurance or belong to your household. This can be your neighbour, an acquaintance or a friend who suffers damage from your animal.
Pet owner's liability insurance protects you from the consequential costs if your pet causes damage to property, personal injury or financial loss. With Luko, you can insure your four-legged friend with our dog liability insurance and you can walk, play and romp with him without hesitation.
Special regulation for small animals
All tame small animals, whether cat, rabbit or mouse, are automatically covered by the regular Luko liability insurance. Unfortunately, this does not apply to dogs, as they need separate insurance. With Luko, you can easily take out dog liability insurance. Larger animals, like horses, donkeys, crocodiles or Thai elephants are currently not insured by Luko and are not covered by your private liability insurance under small animals.
Pet owner liability for dogs
Your Luko dog liability insurance helps you to cover claims for damages caused by your dog. The protection also applies if your dog is not with you, but is with a dog sitter. If your dog breaks the leash and causes a traffic accident, your pet owner's liability insurance will cover the costs. This also applies if your dog jumps at a passer-by out of joy and exuberance, who then falls and injures himself.
Pet owner's liability insurance for horses
For horse owners, horse liability insurance is very useful. It insures you as a horse owner, but also co-owners, riders and those involved in riding. Suppose you offer a young person a horseback ride. In this case, the young person is also insured if she takes care of your horse or rides it.
In addition, your pet owner's liability insurance covers damage caused by your horse to stables and boxes and in paddocks.
Animal owners' liability insurance not only covers adult animals but also puppies and foals. These cause damage faster than adult four-legged friends. You can compare them with small children: they are not yet able to assess situations correctly. Even through overconfidence and carelessness, misfortunes and accidents happen quickly. Luko cannot offer you horse liability insurance at the moment.
Which damages are not covered by horse owner's liability insurance?
Own damage, deliberately caused damage and damage caused by animals from agricultural or commercial use are not covered.
- Personal injury: Damage that your animal causes to your person or to your property is not covered. If your dog destroys your sofa in your absence, you must pay for the damage yourself.
- Intentional damage: In case of damage caused intentionally, the pet owner's liability insurance does not cover the damage. Suppose you are drunk and get into a fight with another person. If you set your dog on him to scare him and your dog bites, you must make good the damage from your own pocket.
- Damage caused by animals used for agricultural or commercial purposes: Damage caused by farm animals such as cows, pigs, chickens and commercial animals. Guard dogs are also not covered by the pet owner's liability insurance.
How much does a dog owner's liability insurance cost per month/year?
At Luko, you can get your dog owner liability insurance for dogs starting at 5.99 euros per month or 68.39 euros per year.
Is a deductible useful for me?
If you are willing to settle smaller damages yourself, a deductible is definitely recommended for you. This will save you money on insurance premiums in the long term.
Think carefully whether you are financially able to pay the agreed amount. A deductible of 250 euros is common. In order to make sure that you actually have the money at your disposal in case of a claim, you could deposit it in a savings account.
How much should the insurance sum be?
We recommend a sum insured of at least five million euros. Even better would be at least 30 million euros. Particularly in the case of personal injury, the claims that come your way can easily reach tens of millions of euros.
This could be the case, for example, if your horse goes through and causes a serious traffic accident with several injured persons. If the agreed sum insured is not sufficient to settle the claim, you are liable for the rest with your private assets.
Is it even worthwhile to have an animal owner's liability insurance?
A pet owner's liability insurance is worthwhile for pet owners/dog owners in any case, since every animal can cause damage for which you as the owner are liable.
Animal owner liability insurance for dog owners
In six federal states, liability insurance is mandatory for dog owners. It belongs to dog keeping like the dog tax.
"He does nothing. He just wants to play." How often do we hear this sentence from dog lovers? And how often does something happen anyway? The good collie may never have snapped at another human being before. But even one time is once too many.
At worst, dog bites can become infected and result in lengthy treatment or even surgery. Without liability insurance for pet owners, you have to pay for these costs personally.
You may think that your dog would never bite a human. Even if that is true, your four-legged friend can still cause damage:
- Maybe your Labrador is so happy about your daily return that he jumps up at the door of your rented apartment and bites it.
- You want to do some quick shopping and tie your German shepherd dog in front of the supermarket. However, his collar is a bit too loose. When a child comes out of the store with a piece of sausage in his hand, he cannot resist: he pulls his head out of his collar to get the tempting treat. The child loses his footing and falls. In the process, the expensive glasses break and the child carries away a wound on his forehead.
- Or your Great Dane operates the tap himself in your absence because he is thirsty. Since she only turns the single-lever mixer on, but not off again, she puts your rented apartment under water.
As a horse owner, do I need animal liability insurance?
Horses are jumpy animals. If they panic, they become a danger simply because of their size and strength. It doesn't matter if you're responsible for your horse going under. In any case, you are liable for your animal. If your horse destroys a fence or the paddock, the damage may be relatively easy to repair. The situation is different in the case of personal injury with injured or even dead people. Without corresponding liability insurance, you are financially ruined.
For this reason, you should definitely take out liability insurance for pet owners, even if it is not compulsory. At Luko, we do not offer this insurance at the moment.
Is my cat included in my private liability insurance?
Yes, as a tame pet, it is - just like hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and other small animals - included in your private liability insurance. You do not need to take out a separate pet owner's liability insurance for your cat.
Which damages caused by my cat are covered by my private liability insurance?
Property damage and personal injury caused by your cat are covered by your personal liability insurance.
A few examples of damage:
- When hunting for a squirrel, our cat jumps onto your neighbour's new car. It threatens to fall off, extends its claws to grab on and scratches the paintwork.
- When you visit your neighbour's house, your cat jumps on the bird or the mice of the neighbour's boy.
- You visit a friend with your cat. In an unobserved moment, he urinates on a high-end headset.
- Your cat flees from a dog and runs across the street in the middle of traffic. A car can barely avoid it but rams into another vehicle.
Which damages caused by my cat are not covered by my personal liability insurance?
Suppose you live with your cat in a rented apartment. If your personal liability insurance does not cover damage to rented property, you are liable for all damage caused by your cat. Even if damage to rented property is included, the damage must have happened suddenly.
If, through your cat's fault, a heavy object such as your coffee machine falls off the sideboard and punctures a hole in the floor, the damage is covered if your liability insurance includes damage to rented property.
Damage that occurs regularly over a longer period of time is not covered:
- Maybe your cat keeps scratching at closed doors and leaving marks in the wood.
- Or, it tears down the wallpaper.
- Some cats urinate and mark the house. The penetrating smell is hard to get out of carpets. Laminate swells on contact with liquids.
Also, your personal liability insurance won't pay if your cat damages your own property.
What benefits should I look out for in my personal liability insurance with regard to my cat?
Not all liability policies cover damage to rented property. Permanent fixtures and fittings such as toilets, bathtubs, shower cubicles, but also fitted kitchens, are fixed rental items. This also applies to carpeting, laminate and parquet floors.
Make sure your insurance contract includes damage to rented property. Then sudden damage caused by your cat is covered and you are insured against the financial consequences.
Are veterinary costs covered by my liability insurance?
No, vet costs are not covered by your private liability insurance.
If you want to protect yourself against cost-intensive visits to the vet and insure your pet for health, you will need separate health insurance and/or surgery insurance. As a rule, however, older animals over seven years of age are no longer insured.
However, some insurance companies offer combined animal insurance, consisting of liability insurance for pet owners and health insurance for animals.