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Is it the law to have third party liability insurance for your dog?


When owners choose to insure their animals, it is usually with the intention to help with costs if your pet becomes ill or injured. But, did you know that you can also take out third party liability insurance for your dog? Imagine being in this scenario! Your dog runs into the road and causes a car accident (your dog is unhurt!) but the car driver is claiming against you for personal and property damages. This is where third party liability insurance plays an important role! Insurance third party cover for your dog is invaluable and it is always advised. This article will explain what third party liability insurance is, its importance and why it is recommended by your Vet. 

Why should I get my dog insured?

4.8 million pets are insured in the UK (ABI, 2021). 2.8 million are dogs, 1.3 million cats and the remaining 700,00 are other companion species including rabbits. (ABI, 2021).

Your canine companion will bring you an enormous amount of happiness and pleasure, but unavoidably there may be times when they require veterinary treatment.

As a vet working in a busy first opinion Practice, I always advise insurance cover for your dog! Having your dog insured can support you financially to cover veterinary fees if your beloved dog falls ill or becomes injured. When your dog is receiving veterinary treatment, understandably this often brings lots of stress and worry to the owners. Insurance cover can take away some of this stress by giving you financial peace of mind. Some practices will do direct claims with insurance companies, others request upfront payments and will then support you in claiming the fees back as soon as possible.

What is third party liability insurance?

Third party liability insurance covers you if your dog accidentally damages property, or if someone is killed, injured or falls ill as a result of an incident involving your dog. If your dog causes harm to another person or property, even if it is unintentional, as the dog’s owner you may be liable for their actions. Having third party liability insurance cover in place can cover any legal fees, damages and will support you through any legal disputes.

When you take out your dog’s insurance policy, most policies automatically include third party liability insurance. Some household insurance policies include third party liability for your dog.

It is always a very sensible idea to familiarise yourself with your dog’s insurance policy and to check that you do have third party liability cover.

Is it the law to have third party liability insurance for your dog?

No! Having third party liability cover for your dog is not compulsory in the UK.

How does third party liability insurance apply to “dangerous dogs”?

Keeping, breeding and selling “dangerous dog” breeds in the UK is illegal. However, owners can apply to Court for exemption if it is concluded that the dog is NOT a threat to public safety. The dangerous dogs that are exempted are then added to the ‘index of exempted dogs.’ Part of this registration and ownership process involves obtaining third party liability insurance cover! In the UK under ‘the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991’, there are four banned dog breeds:

  • Pit bull terrier
  • Japanese tosa
  • Dogo argentino
  • Fila brasileiro

It is the law that you must have third party liability insurance cover if you own a dangerous dog. Not all insurance companies will provide third party liability cover for these dog breeds.

Conclusion:

To conclude, I hope that this article has highlighted the importance of third party liability insurance cover for your dog. I hope that you are never faced with the unfortunate situation where you need to utilise your policy, but having the cover in place will provide you with some security and reassurance. Accidents involving your dog and other people or properties can happen at any time to any owner!

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