So you have a rabbit, or are planning to get one, and you are wondering…
What is pet liability insurance, and do you need it? The answer depends on what animals you keep as pets, and how much of a risk you are prepared to accept.
Pet liability insurance normally covers you for compensation awarded against you if you are held responsible for any damage, injury or loss caused to other people by your pet. Examples might be: if your pet runs into the road and causes a car accident; if your horse kicks somebody when you should have been in control of it; if your dog bites a human or another dog causing an injury that requires medical treatment.
Liability cover is included in most health insurance plans for dogs. It may not be included in plans for cats and smaller animals, partly because owners are not expected to control them in the same way, and partly because they are less likely to cause damage.
But even if your pets do not have health insurance, it is possible that you may already have insurance that will cover you for any liability related to the actions of your pets. It is worth taking a look at the insurance for your home along with any other types of insurance that you have, to see if it is covered there.
But do not make assumptions. If you think that your home insurance or other policy may cover you, give the company a call to check it out. Many plans specifically exclude certain breeds of dog. There are around 4.5 million dog bites reported every year. Around 1,000 Americans every day are treated in emergency rooms for dog bites. Many of those will expect compensation from the dog’s owner. Dog-related damage and injuries cause more claims on home insurance policies than any other single event.
Therefore, home insurance companies are tightening their rules and many now exclude all pet liability from their home insurance plans. In fact, some companies will not accept you for home insurance at all if you have a dog of certain breeds that they consider dangerous. You may even think that you are insured and find out later, when you make a claim, that your insurance is not valid because you did not tell them that you had a dog.
If pet-related damage and injury liability is not covered in your home insurance or any pet health insurance that you may have, the simplest solution is to sign up for a pet liability insurance plan. You can find specialist plans that offer just this, without any health care cover. XInsurance is one example of a company that offers plans for dog bite and other pet-related liabilities.
There would be nothing worse than having your pet cause a lawsuit and then finding out that your insurance did not cover that situation for some reason that was hidden in the fine print. It is better to pay a few dollars for pet liability insurance than to end up having to cover a massive compensation payout from your personal assets.