Animal Friends Blog
You as a pet owner have a special responsibility to look after your pet whether you’re out and about or in your home. This responsibility includes ensuring that they do not injure another person or damage someone else’s property – wherever that might be…
Here at Animal Friends, over 95% of our public liability incidents involve dogs (as of 2017), so dog owners in particular need to be fully aware of the potential consequences of biting incidents, Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs), and other incidents which result in your dog injuring someone else or damaging their property.
Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a handy guide on public liability and why it might be a good idea to see whether you’re covered.
Public liability: how much it could cost you
The one thing you need to know about public liability is just how expensive it can be. Some public liability claims can run up into the millions of pounds taking into account potential claims for Loss of Earnings, catastrophic injury, and much more besides, meaning that ensuring that you’re covered is essential if you want to avoid a hefty compensation bill or worse.
The Animals Act 1971 places strict responsibility on the owner should an animal in their possession (in this case, their dog) injure someone or damages another’s property. This piece of legislation can place strict responsibility on the owner if their pet injures someone or damages their property, even if the animal is not acting with any sort of malicious intent – something to be aware of should you find yourself involved in any public liability claim.
The facts about public liability cover
Despite the increase in legislation surrounding owners’ responsibilities for their dogs, public liability cover – as with pet insurance in general – is not mandatory for most dogs in the UK. As a result, many dog owners don’t even think about getting public liability cover until it’s too late.
A public liability claim can stem from any sort of situation, even when you least expect it. Your dog could be happily playing with his best puppy friend in the local park, get a bit too excited, and accidentally knock into someone passing by. If the passer-by in question decides to file a public liability claim, it could potentially leave you out of pocket – and all from your dog having fun…
In the more severe circumstances, our statistics show the average public liability claim for a dog bite is a whopping £6,990.93, while the average claim for property damage is £1,409.41 – which could hit you hard financially. These statistics show clearly just how important it is to consider getting public liability cover for your pet, regardless of how well behaved you may think they are. Most of the time the pet in question hasn’t done anything like this before – so it could easily happen to you…
What does public liability involve?
Two of the most common incidents, when public liability is important, are dog bites and RTAs involving your pet. When it comes to biting or RTAs, the responsibility falls squarely on the owner or keeper of the pet in question.
This fact is even more problematic when you consider that most biting incidents involving dogs are unprovoked and sudden. Sudden biting in your dog could be caused by a number of things, including illness (pain is a common reason why dogs might become aggressive), frustration, and fear. For instance, if your dog is introduced into a new setting with too many people present, and it becomes anxious, your dog could easily express its anxiety through biting anyone who comes too close.
Having public liability cover as part of your pet insurance policy could be something to consider, especially in unforeseen incidents involving your pet. It could make a stressful time that little bit less so.
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