Pet Insurance: The world of Third Party Liability

Just as humans behave out of character sometimes, so do pets, but with pets, this might result in some unforeseen expenses that might run into thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of damage caused.

The American Veterinary Association reported that every year an estimated 4.5 million injuries result from dog bites, also according to the US postal service about 5300 postmen were bitten by dogs in the year 2022 alone.

The thing is, the law always holds the pet parents liable for any harm done to a third party by their pet, making it quite important for pet parents to carry out a pet insurance policy with a third party liability cover on their pets to help in incases of unexpected and unplanned incidents like this.

The good thing is, most pet insurance policies come with third party liability covers that take care of expenses resulting from dog attacks, but this covers ain’t automatic as they are made subject to certain conditions.

Keep reading to find out more on how third party liability pet insurance works, the maximum amount of cover companies typically pay and the scenarios under which pet insurance companies will naturally take care of the financial responsibilities of these incidents.

What is a Third Party Liability Cover?

A third party liability cover is a feature that usually comes with a pet insurance policy under which insurance companies help pet owners pay for all expenses that result from any attack done by their dogs on a third party. The common scenarios that often gives rise to third party claims are when a dog:

  • Bites someone resulting in an injury
  • Bites and Injures another dog, cat or livestock
  • Jumps unto, knocks down and injures an elderly person or child out of excitement
  • Runs into the road and causes damage to a car or causes two or more cars to collide
  • Damages someone else’s property outside your home

When any of these scenerios occur, the pet insurance policy often covers the following costs:

  • Payment for the treatment of any injury inflicted by your dog on another domestic animal e.g dog, cat, or cattles.
  • Payment for the treatment of injuries inflicted by your dog on other humans.
  • Payment for the replacement of another person’s property destroyed by your dog.
  • Cost of legal fees expended in a legal battle in instances where you are being sued for the damages caused by your dog.
  • Payment of any compensation awarded by the court on a legal battle resulting from an injury caused by your dog.


When Insurance Companies Will Not Pay For Damages Done by Your Dog

Although the third party liability cover takes care of harm done by your dog to other animals or humans, the insurance company will not pay for damages caused by your dog in the following cases:

  • When the dog bites other members of the pet parent’s household who live in the same house with the owner.
  • When the dog destroys the property of members of the pet parent’s family who live in the same house as the owner.
  • When the dog bites anybody employed to look after it or destroys their belongings
  • When the dog bites anybody who comes to visit the pet parents when they work from home or destroys the visitor’s belongings
  • When your dog damages your own property
  • When the dog injures or destroys the property of an employee of the owner.
  • When your dog causes injury or damage at your place of work.
  • And sometimes if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior towards people or other animals

Factors to Consider When Taking out a Third Party Liability Pet Insurance Cover

Before taking out a third party liability pet insurance cover for your dog at all, it is important to consider the following factors

  • The age of the dog – While it is good to carry out pet insurance on dogs of all sizes and age, it is more important to take the idea of third party liability cover more seriously when your dog gets older, because the bigger they get the more damages they incur for you once they are involved in an incident.
  • The history of aggression – Once your pet has a known history of aggression, then it is important for you to get a comprehensive pet insurance policy with a third party liability cover to help cater to all the unplanned expenses that might result from any attack by your dog.
  • The limit of the cover – Some third party Insurance only cover legal fees while others cover legal fees incurred by you as well as the cost of treating the injured victim and fixing their properties, some have a maximum cover of $1000 while some are willing to pay upto $3000.

Factors pet insurance companies consider when granting a third party liability cover.

Insurance companies do not grant third party liability cover on all breeds of dogs, while they fully exempt certain breeds of dogs from benefiting from their third party liability cover, they charge a higher premium for other groups of dogs with certain considerations such as:

  • Dogs with a history of aggression – Once a dog is noted to have a history of aggression, the insurance companies will not be willing to insure such dogs, and even if they do offer a third party liability cover on such dogs, it attracts a higher premium, hiding the fact of the aggressive behavior of your pet is not advisable as it will only lead to the policy been nullified once discovered.
  • The location of the dog – Dogs in rural areas will attract a higher premium than dogs in urban areas, this is because the dogs in the rural areas have a better possibility of meeting up with and socializing with more animals than their urban counterparts.
  • Dogs listed under the dangerous animals acts.

The species of dogs listed under this act are:

  • Pit bull terrier
  • Japanese tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

Naturally these sets of dogs are not allowed to be adopted unless they pass a behavioral test, even at that, Pet insurance companies are always reluctant to carry out third party liability cover on these types of dogs.

Is a pet owner always liable for damages and injuries caused by their pets?

Although the pet owners are usually held responsible for attacks by their pets, this liability is not automatic, each case is viewed on its merit to see if the pet parent was truly negligent in handling the pet that resulted in the damage to the third party.

For instance when a dog on a leash is attacked or provoked by another dog who is let loose by its owner resulting in an injury, then the pet parent won’t be held liable for such injury.


Having seen how third party liability pet insurance cover works, the maximum amount of cover insurance companies typically pay when an incident occurs and the scenarios under which pet insurance companies will naturally take care of the financial responsibilities of these incidents it is important to put all of these into consideration when taking out a pet insurance policy
Knowing that you can at any time incur damages from the activities of your pets that can put you neck deep in unexpected expenses.

Author Bio:

Grace JogohGrace Jogoh is a google certified digital marketer, freelance content writer specialised in writing on pets.

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