News and updates about what's REALLY happening with the new insurance laws and how they apply to you
Most people who have a dog here in Spain will have read something about the new laws that were written earlier in the year and will have seen that mandatory liability insurance will be a requirement for all dogs and not just those that are on the PPP (Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos) list.
How the new dog liability insurance laws affect you
What is Liability Insurance?
Liability insurance is the most basic pet insurance available, and it covers damages caused by your pet to a third party. This could be an injury to another person or animal and destruction of or damage to another person’s property.
This insurance covers both the civil liability of the pet owner and that of an occasional owner. That means, if a person who is not the owner takes the dog for a walk, the insurance also protects him or her against possible damage.
If a dog bites a child, its owner can be reported by the family. The civil liability insurance would take care of the compensation, as long as negligence on the part of its owner was not detected: that the dog was without a leash in a place where it is mandatory, or without a muzzle being a dangerous breed, for example. An animal can also cause a traffic accident, or damage a neighbour's property, or cause injury to another animal, circumstances that would be covered by this insurance.
There are A LOT of misleading advertisements and articles on the internet about what you do and don't need and obviously insurance companies are taking advantage of the situation and of people's lack of knowledge about it. So, here's the difference between each type of insurance that you can get:
Pet insurance: covering accidents and/or veterinary health care due to illness. Other coverages can include theft, loss, euthanasia and removal of the body, placement in a kennel due to the death or hospitalisation of the owner, spouse or children, and legal defence. Liability insurance can also be added. This usually costs between €150-250 depending on the dog and which insurance policy you choose.
Home insurance: through your home insurance, you also have the possibility of adding pet liability insurance and insurance in case of accidents. Only some home insurance policies provide cover, so if you have this type of insurance it's wise to check that you're covered and don't just assume. Also, with some companies you actually have to ask them to add it on at an extra cost.
Pet liability insurance: for those who just want to have the costs covered should their pet be liable for someone else’s injuries or damage to their property or pet. This is all that is required by the new laws and should cost between €25 and €150. This depends on the size of your dog - the bigger the dog; the higher the risk of causing more damage, therefore the higher the cost.
So What Does It All Mean?
In March this year, there were some huge developments in the Animal Welfare Laws in Spain which marked a date where some new laws were to come into place regarding insurance. One of the new stipulations is that all dog owners were to take out liability insurance for their dogs by the 29 September. This is something that until now only those who owned a dog considered a dangerous breed were required to do.
Also included in the new laws is a clause that states that if you want to have a pet, from September you would have to take a free online “responsible pet ownership course” to acquire basic knowledge about the basic needs of a pet before you adopt or buy it. It remains to be determined whether only new pet owners will have to take this course or also those who already have animals.
However it's important to note that NONE OF THIS HAS HAPPENED and it has been delayed indefinitely. The cause of the delay comes down to Spanish politics, the snap election on July 23 ended the commissioning of these regulations, only when a standing government is formed can this be rectified. The law HAS come into effect but only the articles that do not need regulation can be put into practice. The two which affect us dog owners are the need for training to care for your dog, and civil liability insurance, neither of which currently have established regulations.
So basically it means that you do not have to rush out and get liability insurance yet. It may be some time before the regulations and who is going to monitor them are actually decided. My personal opinion is take your time and don't rush into paying out money for something that isn't necessary YET. If you do want to go ahead and take out the insurance, make sure you aren't being ripped off and you're not paying for the wrong type of cover. It's easy to be fooled by good marketing and advertising.
If you need help with any of the details about liability insurance, then feel free to ask. It's something that I've spent a lot of time looking into so that I know the right information. I have 4 dogs of my own so I didn't want to be paying out lots money if I didn't have to!
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