Pets (dogs, cats, etc.): what is covered by the civil liability guarantee?

Secure your pets to anticipate possible incidents Photo credit: GettyImages

Pet owners are legally responsible for this. If there is damage, they may be covered by the civil liability guarantee included in their home insurance contract with a lot of risk. In what situations? What animals are affected? What happens if you hand over your animal to a third party? It is important to anticipate a possible event.


  • Summary

  • Civil responsibility and pets

  • What happens if you give custody of your pet?

  • Claim your insurance if there is damage caused to your animal

  • What animals are covered by the civil liability guarantee?

  • The special case of so -called “dangerous” dogs


Civil responsibility and pets

What happens if you give custody of your pet?

Claim your insurance if there is damage caused to your animal

What animals are covered by the civil liability guarantee?

The special case of so -called “dangerous” dogs

Civil responsibility and pets

According to the Civil Code, the owner or the manager of the animal is liable for any damage caused to the animal. This accountability is effective even if the animal strays or escapes. In other words, you are legally responsible for any type of damage caused whether material (furniture, carpet, clothing, garden) or body (bites, scratches).

Damage caused to pets may be covered by the civil liability guarantee included in all high -risk home insurance contracts. However, this insurance covers only third parties and does not cover damage caused by “persons named in the contract” (you, your spouse, your children), or their property.

Concretely, if your dog tears up your new sofa, you won’t be reimbursed by your insurer. It’s the same if he bites a family member. In this case, your home insurance will not cover care-related health costs and you will not be covered for potential moral or beauty damage. To cover household members, you must get an insurance or extension option: Life Accident Guarantee (GAV), individual accident guarantee, family protection, and more.

Check with your insurance company, because the concept of “family” differs from one contract to another. Some contracts take, for example, managing ascendants, or the insured’s relatives who do not live under his or her roof.

What happens if you give custody of your pet?

If you hand over your animal to a relative, neighbor or friend for several days, the law considers it a “transfer of responsibility” to the person who has temporary custody of it. This person is considered legally responsible in the event of an accident or injury. Therefore, his own civil liability insurance is involved. This is especially true if you hand over your animal to a professional (cage, personal service company or veterinary clinic), the latter must be covered by adequate insurance and be able to provide you with a certificate.

So be careful, if you accept the animal to a relative, or if you surrender yourself. Other insurance contracts only cover damage caused to the animal owned by the insured. The idea of ​​transferring responsibility is only applicable after a certain period of time. If the neighbor takes your dog for a walk or feeds your cat while you are away, you remain legally responsible for your pet.

Claim your insurance if there is damage caused to your animal

If your dog bites neighbors, goes to their garden or tears their clothes, your liability insurance will pay for them. As with any claim, both parties must make a declaration and send it to their insurer within 5 days of the accident. Depending on the amount of damage, an expert may be ordered. The victim must keep the invoices and all useful elements: photos, testimonials … However, some contracts provide a deductible even if this type of claim does not require any penalty for the owner to the pet.

If there is a bodily injury (bite, injury, etc.), you must make a declaration to your insurance company and the victim will receive a compensation inquiry in which he or she must detail all the bodily injury, beauty, moral and financial. A medical advisor may ask your insurer to confirm the injury and set the amount of compensation. If the victim files a complaint, the fee is suspended until a penal decision. You get up to 3 years in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros, which of course remains your responsibility.

For any bite, you will need to report the incident to town hall and have your dog examined three times by a veterinarian within 15 days. The goal is to verify that he is not a carrier of rabies.

You may be removed from your responsibility if you provide proof that the victim threatened or excited the animal. This is also the case if you can prove that a third party caused the accident by opening the gate for your dog, for example.

What animals are covered by the civil liability guarantee?

In addition to dogs and cats, insurance contracts often include rodents (hamsters, mice, dwarf rabbits), birds (parrot, canary, dove), aquarium fish or even some turtles. They can also care for goats, barns or sheep under specific conditions (limit on the number of animals or maximum area grazed). Each company has its own list, and sometimes it is necessary to declare certain animals. Therefore, always be careful to inform your insurer, he will be able to determine the limits of the warranty and unique coverage.

Your home insurance does not cover damage caused to your animals in the context of a professional or commercial activity (sale or exhibition, for example). Then it is necessary to get professional civil liability insurance. Similarly, if you practice a sporting activity with an animal (such as a dog raft race or horse racing), any damage caused will be covered by insurance taken out under your sports license.

To find out

If you are a hunter, you will need to take out the civil liability insurance dedicated to this practice for your dog.

What is the legislation for NAC (New Pets)?

Holding NAC than under regulation. The administration distinguishes between two types of NAC: domestic species (rodents, fish, birds, farmyard animals, etc.) and non-domestic species (primates, reptiles, spiders, scorpions, etc.). To keep one of these, you must, depending on the species, make a declaration with the prefecture, or even obtain a certificate of sustainability capacity. The importation, purchase or possession of certain species is strictly prohibited. In terms of insurance, non -local NACs are generally not included in the home insurance civil liability guarantee.

The special case of so -called “dangerous” dogs

Some types of dogs are often excluded from the civil liability included in multi-risk home insurance:

  • Attacks on dogs (category 1, especially pit bulls).

  • Guard or defense dogs (category 2: American Staffordshire, Rottweiler, Mastiff, Tosa).

Ownership of these dogs is subject to strict regulations. Their employer must be of legal age and have a detention permit. It is issued on the presentation of an evaluation of the dog’s behavior, a training certificate for the owner and various certificates (identification, sterilization, rabies vaccination, etc.). Having civil liability insurance is mandatory for keepers of category 1 or 2 dogs. If this is your case, contact your insurer to get a warranty extension or a specific insurance contract. If there is damage done by third parties, family members are treated as such here.

Stealing your pet

With the exception of exceptions, the multi-risk home contract does not provide any compensation in the event of theft of your pet.

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