Britain is a nation of dog lovers and lots of us have dogs. Lots of us also have horses and ponies. Insuring yourself to assist with paying for veterinary care is quite common but you need to think about your third party liability for your pet’s activities.
The fact is animals can cause harm to others, through no fault of their own. Examples of this are: A dog feels it is under attack and defends itself by biting someone, causing an injury. A horse also may get scared or spooked and kick out and in doing so injure someone else. No one is suggesting necessarily that these animals are vicious or dangerous and indeed to their owners they will be the usual loving, gentle pets but these types of accidents can happen, however well behaved and well controlled the animals might be in a normal course of events.
Nobody wants an accident to happen and nobody wants an animal to injure someone else but the important thing is to protect yourself in the event that an unfortunate situation occurs and the best way of doing that is to insure yourself.
Effectively you are insuring yourself with an appropriate insurer against any liability to third parties in respect of your animal’s behaviour. These insurance policies are easy to obtain, they are relatively low cost particularly when measured against what the cost of a third party liability could be.
If you do have insurance then if an unfortunate event occurs with your dog or horse or other animal then you will be insured and you will be able to pass your claim over to your insures who will handle it for you, appoint lawyers to represent your position, deal with all the legal costs and deal with any compensation award if the Claim is successful. Effectively you will not need to have much involvement at all and you will certainly not have to pay out any money.
If you don’t have insurance, then you will be left to deal with a claim by a third party yourself. You will have to defend that claim yourself. Ideally you will instruct lawyers and that is going to incur legal costs and if the Claim is successful and results in an award against you, you will have to pay that award and possibly the other side’s legal costs as well as your own, so it could be very costly indeed.
A lot of people don’t realise this risk and perhaps don’t realise they can insure themselves against it for a relatively modest cost.
In the scheme of things it definitely makes sense.