In a remarkable move to promote animal protection and responsible ownership, Spain has taken a significant stride towards safeguarding both its citizens and their furry friends. The recent enactment of the new Animal Welfare Law, set to be enforced from September 29th, 2023, has gained widespread attention for one of its groundbreaking stipulations: every dog owner in Spain must now possess Civil Liability insurance (also known as Public Liability insurance or Animal Liability insurance) for their canine companions.
Animal Liability insurance is a safeguard against potential damages or injuries caused by dogs. It provides coverage of up to €300,000 in cases where a dog is involved in a fight with another animal, attacks a person, injures a neighbor's pet or livestock or damages someone's property. It's important to note that this type of insurance is distinct from pet healthcare plans, focusing exclusively on mitigating the financial ramifications of unforeseen incidents involving dogs including the costs involved after causing a road traffic accident.
The objective of this part of the mandate is to ensure that dog owners are financially equipped to handle the fallout from such incidents. While responsible dog ownership entails proper training, socialization, and care, accidents can still happen. By requiring liability insurance, the Spanish government is fostering a culture of accountability that encourages dog owners to be mindful of their pets' behavior and interactions within the community.
This change stems from the new Animal Welfare Law, which has been in the spotlight since its vote in March 2023. The law emphasizes the importance of responsible pet ownership and introduces some well overdue and well received measures to enhance the well-being of animals across the country. The mandatory requirement for all dog owners to have an animal liability insurance policy in place, ensuring that they are financially prepared to handle any unfortunate events involving their dogs is just one of many regulations. Another regulation stated in Article 36 is that all new and existing dog owners will also need to pass an accredited training course.
Previously, liability insurance was obligatory only for dogs deemed "dangerous” also classed in Spain as “P.P.P.” ( Perros Potencialmente Peligrosos ) a list of Dog breeds which are considered to have certain physical and behavioural characteristics. However, the updated law expands this requirement to encompass all types of dogs, regardless of breed or size. This all-encompassing approach stems from the realization that any dog, regardless of their size or breed, has their own temperament and any dog could find themselves in a unpredictable situation.
While the new law casts a wide net over dog ownership, it does feature one notable exception: hunting dogs. Hunting dogs, which serve specific roles within rural communities, have been granted an exemption from the mandatory liability insurance requirement. There has been a rather mixed response to this exception indeed.
The date of enforcement, was set for six months after publication in the "Official State Gazette." With the law's publication on March 28th, 2023, the requirement for public liability insurance for dogs will officially take effect on September 29th, 2023.
Spain's adoption of the new Animal Welfare Law, including the mandatory liability insurance requirement for all dog owners, is a step forward in promoting responsible pet ownership and ensuring the safety and well-being of both citizens and their canine companions. By mandating liability insurance coverage, the Spanish government is not only preparing dog owners for unforeseen incidents but also reinforcing the need for accountability and consideration within communities.
If you are a dog owner it is imperative that you make sure you have the correct Civil Liability cover in place for your dog regardless of age, breed or weight.
First – Check your existing home (building and/or contents) insurance cover, you may well find that you are already covered under your policy. You will have to contact your insurance provider to check that the level of coverage is adequate according to the Spanish law and then ensure that your dog’s name, breed, date of birth and microchip number are added to your policy.
If you find that you are not covered under your home insurance, you have a couple of options:
You can either change your home insurance provider to a company that does include Civil Liability for dogs (named on the policy) or take out a stand-alone Civil Liability policy.
The level of cover available is up to 300,000€ however, of course most dog owners understandably only want to have the minimum level required as the cost is in direct relation to cover. The minimum coverage that is required depends very much on which municipality you live in or travel to with your pet in Spain. The best thing to do is check with your local Town Hall and adjust the cover correctly.
Something that will influence the cost of your policy is the weight of your dog. The policies are sold for under 20kg and over 20kg. Any dog that is close (within 2kg) to the upper limit of the smaller dog policy should consider purchasing the larger dog policy. The reason being, if your dog has gained weight at the time of a claim and is over the threshold, the policy will be void and the insurance company will not pay the claim.
You can speak to specialist advisors in English or Spanish at Insurance in Spain. Ask the questions, get the right advice, protect your pocket and your Pets!
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this article "Civil / Public Liability Insurance for Dogs " has been written in collaboration with Tangalina and White Mouse Media on behalf of Protectapet.
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