In terms of insurance, the question often arises of your liability when damage concerns your pet. Depending on the pet, the coverage taken out, and the declarations made in the contract, the consequences may vary. Reassure me take stock with you of the arrangements to be made with regard to pets in the context of home insurance.
Coverage of animals by the civil liability guarantee of their owner
Civil liability in home insurance
Civil liability cover is the first level of cover offered under home insurance. This is the minimum protection to which tenants must subscribe, in order to cover their accommodation for the risks they present. This represents a legal obligation from which they cannot escape; the non-presentation of a certificate of home insurance to the lessor is also a reason for terminating the rental contract.
As far as owners are concerned, they are not legally required to take out any home insurance., although it is very strongly recommended to them. Civil liability to cover all damage caused by the legal persons declared in the contract to a third party (neighbor, passer-by, etc.), appears to be essential in the context of home insurance. People living in co-ownership (co-owners) must also ensure at least via a civil liability guarantee, according to the Alur law, dated March 24, 2014. They are not obliged to subscribe to co-ownership insurance but must be insured by civil liability.
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What does pet liability cover?
The person responsible for pet insurance is responsible for any damage it may cause. It is more a notion of “custody” rather than “possession”; this provision also applies if the animal in question escapes or wanders outside the accommodation. This is how the owner’s civil liability can be engaged in the event of damage caused to a third party: bite, provoked fall, breakage of an object, or tearing of a garment, for example.
The civil liability guarantee makes it possible to cover these damages and to compensate, if necessary, the victim(s).On the other hand, the members of the family of the insured are not protected by this cover; to do this, it is necessary to subscribe to an individual guarantee against accidents or a “guarantee of life accidents” (GAV) contract. A home insurance deductible (part of the compensation payable by the insured) may nevertheless be applied by the insurer, insofar as it is provided for in the contract. In addition, a pet theft does not a priori allow the possibility of receiving any compensation (to be seen personally with your insurer).
Declaration of his animal to his home insurance
You have the possibility of declaring your pet very easily to your insurer within the framework of the home insurance. It is simply a question of mentioning it when subscribing to the civil liability contract (or adding an endorsement during the exercise of it) possibly specifying its race.
However, take care to study the terms of the contract in question; deductibles may apply, your premium amount will likely be increased for pet cover and the precise extent of cover should be understood. You will thus avoid unpleasant surprises in the event of a dispute with a third party involving your dog or cat.
The risks of not declaring your pet to home insurance
Persons in charge of a pet are legally responsible for any damage that may be caused by them. In the event of non-subscription to a civil liability guarantee or non-declaration of the animal in the contract, you expose yourself to engaging your own liability in the eyes of the law and thus being reprehensible in the event of a problem.
In addition, you may have to reimburse bite victims out of your pocket, for example, a significant financial loss for any budget. Then remember to declare your pet in your home insurance contract in order to live more serenely any damage that could result from their care.
The custody (and not the sole possession) of a pet is subject to requirements if you wish to be effectively protected and compensated in the event of damage. The RC guarantee makes it possible to compensate the victims of a bite or a fall caused by your pet. However, this coverage only concerns third parties and you can also take out related warranty extensions to cover the health of your companion.
Which animals are covered by the civil liability guarantee?
Farmyard and farm animals may be covered by the RC guarantee, insofar as the surface reserved for them is limited, as well as their number. Furthermore, you cannot make any profit from these animals (sale of cattle, eggs, etc.); an RC pro guarantee must be taken out for this purpose. As far as horses are concerned, only the ride will be covered, the competition having to be the subject of a specific guarantee for the sport.
Animals excluded from the liability of home insurance
In particular, the following animals are excluded from the coverage offered by the civil liability guarantee:
- 1st category dogs (attack dogs): considered as dangerous dogs, their possession is subject to special authorization by the mayor of the municipality of residence of the owner and subject to several requirements (attestation of aptitude and behavioral evaluation in particular ). These are mainly Pitbulls, Mastiffs, and Tosa-Inu;
- 2nd category dogs (guard and defense dogs): also considered dangerous dogs, their possession is subject to the same rules as for the previous category. It can be Staffordshire, Terrier, Rottweiler, or American Staff;
- Hunting dogs: their owners must subscribe to an extension of civil liability guarantee covering them for bodily injury caused by their animal for an unlimited amount, thus disregarding the compensation ceilings.
1st or 2nd category dogs are generally excluded from most home insurance contracts, although a few insurers offer access to the exclusion of cover concerning them, subject to an increase in the corresponding premium.
Choosing the best home insurance for pets
The transfer of custody of the home insurance
The person responsible for a pet is the one who has custody of it (it is not necessarily the owner), except for the time of a walk, for example. If you entrust your cat to a friend or relative during your vacation, it is he who will be responsible for any damage it may cause. Then remember to check with him the extent of his civil liability home insurance guarantee so that he is covered in the event of a problem.
On the other hand, any animal entrusted to a pension or a veterinarian for one or more days is the responsibility of the establishment which has custody of it. Take the time to check if this establishment is properly insured for the care of a pet for the given period.
In general, declaring your pet in a home insurance contract via the civil liability guarantee is very simple. Just contact your insurer to include it in the contract in order to cover you properly.
The cost of pet home insurance
The declaration of your pet (dog, cat, or other) in your home insurance contract thanks to the civil liability guarantee presupposes the increase of your insurance premium by a few euros. It is also possible that it costs you nothing if your insurance company makes a commercial gesture to reward your loyalty and your “good customer” profile, for example.
It is however a question of studying the other criteria which can influence the amount of your premium in order to pay less.
- This is particularly the case for the compensation ceilings: the more you are inclined to lower their level, the cheaper your premium will be.
- It can also be useful to look at the value of the deductible: lowering their value will mean an increase in your premium and vice versa.
- Waiting periods can also be negotiated (period running between the occurrence of damage and the start of compensation by your insurer); the longer you accept this time, the less expensive your premium will be.
- The extent of the guarantee, in general, must also be studied, in order to be certain that you are adequately insured for the contributions you pay.
Compare home insurance to make the best choice
So which home insurance to choose? The best way to subscribe to the best cover protecting your pet, as well as your civil liability, is to compare the different offers on the market. You will then be able to have a precise idea of the pricing practices of the various insurers and the extent of the guarantees offered. In particular, use an online broker; as an independent service provider, he will choose the best protection for you according to your budget, your needs, and your desires. Its neutrality prevents it from giving in to the commercial practices of insurance companies and you then have the certainty that they will objectively subscribe to the best coverage according to your pre-requisites.
Our expert advice on home insurance for pets
I entrust my animal to a friend or to boarding for two weeks, is it covered?
If you entrust your animal to a boarding house, it is the boarding house that will become responsible for its care. You must then check that the establishment has an adequate guarantee to take care of your animal during your absence. As these are generally specialized establishments, it is very likely that it is adequately insured; remember to check all the same to go on vacation with peace of mind.
The same principle applies if you entrust your dog to a friend; it is he who will be responsible for any damage your pet may cause. Take the time to see if your friend has adequate civil liability coverage to cover your companion for two weeks.
I have custody of my sister’s cat for a few days, is it covered?
Here, everything depends on whether or not you subscribe to a civil liability guarantee. It turns out that you will be responsible for the animal during these few days, so for any damage, it could possibly cause to a third party. Remember to notify your insurer if you have to take care of a pet for a few days to avoid unpleasant surprises.
My cat scratched my sofa, will my home insurance reimburse me?
The civil liability guarantee only covers damage caused by your animal to a third party. Under no circumstances can this coverage apply to your own home, even if you are a victim of your cat’s behavior. Your home insurance will then not be able to compensate you for the damage caused to your sofa or any other object present in your home.
My dog broke his paw in my house, does home insurance cover this situation?
Some insurers offer extended warranties to cover accidents your pet may suffer (pet health insurance). If you have subscribed to it, then ask your veterinarian to fill in the equivalent of a care sheet that you can send within 5 days to your insurer by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt, attaching proof of payment. This benefit may eventually work to cover the cost of vaccinating your pet.
My dog bit the postman’s calf, am I responsible?
In this specific case, your civil liability is engaged because you are responsible for the dog in question (you are its owner). If you have taken out civil liability cover, the victim’s compensation costs will be taken into account. However, you should know that you will be obliged to take your animal to the veterinarian to be screened for rabies: certain extensions of the civil liability guarantee can cover the costs of the intervention.