Animals and liability

Are you a big animal lover and do you have one or even several pets? Then liability insurance is extra important for you! This insurance not only covers the damage that you accidentally cause to others but you are also insured for the accidents of your animal. Read here all about the coverage that liability insurance offers for animals.

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The owner is responsible

Under Dutch law, pets are equal to business. As the owner of an animal, you are therefore responsible for all behaviour of the animal, including when the animal causes damage that you cannot help yourself. This is called risk liability. In the event of an accident, this type of liability does not have to answer the question of guilt. By law, as a pet owner, you are automatically responsible. This is different from debt liability, where an extensive investigation is carried out first as to who is responsible for the accident.

Animal accidents

Since animals are very unpredictable, the risk that your animal will cause something by accident is quite big. Even if your sweet dog doesn’t hurt a fly, his cheerful wagging tail can throw that expensive neighbor’s vase off the table in an unguarded moment. Especially if the damage causes human injury, the costs for you as a controller can be very high. You should not only think of a bite from an animal, but also a cyclist who falls because your dog suddenly runs up the cycle path. Incidentally, only actions that are done by the animal’s own energy can be held liable.

Cover only for pets

For the coverage of liability insurance, the rule applies that you must own the animal privately. Only pets that you keep for your hobby and with which you have no business interest are therefore covered. This can include all kinds of animals, such as cats, dogs and also small animals such as sheep and pigs. Animals that you own for your business or other reasons are not covered by the standard liability insurance and will have to be covered extra.

Example:Do you have a horse that you keep for your own hobby and only you ride it? Then the actions of this horse are covered on the liability insurance. As soon as you use the horse for riding lessons or in a different way, this cover immediately falls due. A riding stable, therefore, has special liability insurance with which riders are covered for the unpredictable actions of the horses.

When the victim is also to blame

When it comes to a claim involving an animal situation, it is often difficult to say who is fully responsible. You as an owner are legally responsible, but the guilt of the victim himself will often also be looked into. Animals can be provoked and teased relatively easily. In a situation where this was clearly the case, the compensation that is for your account will often be eased. A certain percentage of own debt is then assigned to the victim. This percentage is then deducted from the amount of compensation.