If you’re a Staffordshire Bull Terrier owner, it makes perfect sense to ensure you have adequate liability insurance to cover yourself for accidents your Staffy might cause.
What’s more, even if you are the owner of a small dog breed, you shouldn’t be complacent about liability insurance because even a tiny Chihuahua can inflict severe damage to a small child’s face.
While there’s no legal requirement in the UK, obtaining pet insurance, including third-party liability insurance, would undoubtedly be a sensible choice.
NOTE: This page may contain affiliate links, which means Staffy Dog may receive a small commission for anything purchase via these links, at no cost to you. This keeps our tails wagging.
It’s impossible to predict if, and when your dog might cause an accident, these situations occur in an instant and typically without warning. Dogs can slip their leads and run into the road and cause a vehicle accident where there might be an injury to the driver or pedestrians subsequently struck by the vehicle.
It’s not just road accidents, of course, if your dog was to bite anyone or cause damage to someone’s property, the fact is as the dog’s owner, you’re responsible and can be taken to court and sued; which can result in awards of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
On one pet insurance website, I recently read a situation of an over-protective Border Collie that chased a postman. The Border Collie didn’t hurt the man, but he fell over a wall in his haste to escape and injured his back. The damages and legal fees of the injured man and the dog’s owners came to £60,000.
Any dog breed can cause similar situations of this type, you might not believe me, but even a dog as small as a Jack Russel Terrier can make people fearful and panic.
What is Animal Liability Coverage?
Liability or third-party liability insurance, as it’s referred to, will cover you should your dog:
- Injure someone
- Injure another dog
- Breaks or damages someone else’s (third-party) property or belongings
It’s essential your dog doesn’t have any history of aggression before the insurer covers you for liability insurance; however, assuming there has been no history, third party liability will cover you for:
- Vet bills
- Legal fees
- Damage costs
The type and amount of cover can vary, so check each company’s policy documents carefully to ensure you’re getting the best cover for your money. Another thing to look out for is any policy exclusion. For example, no insurance will cover dogs registered under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and Dogs (Muzzling) regulations (Northern Ireland) 1991.
Insurance companies will not insure certain breeds of dogs, irrespective if they are pedigree, crossbreeds, or mixed – these are American Bulldog, American Indian Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bandog, Boerboel, Bully Kutta, Canary Dog, Cane Corso, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Dingo, Dogo Argentino, Dogue Brasileiro, Fila Brasileiro, Gull Dong, Husky Wolf Hybrid, Irish Staffordshire Blue Bull Terrier, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull Terrier, Saarlooswolfhound, Tosa, Tosa Inu, Wolf Hybrid, Wolfdog.
Does Liability Insurance Only Cover Against Aggression
Many people assume third-party liability insurance will only apply if a dog behaves aggressively and bites someone. This is not the case, and most claims are not aggression-related.
Numerous other incidents can occur that render you responsible for liability claims. For example, an over-excited dog might accidentally knock someone off their feet, causing an injury. Your dog could very easily break someone’s property, and you would be responsible for the cost of repairs. A third party could take you to court, and if you lose the case, you could be subject to legal expenses, medical bills, compensation, etc.
What Happens if My Staffy Bites Someone?
If your Staffy bites someone, the law in the Uk is unambiguous, and the penalties can be severe for you and your dog.
The UK government website explains the consequences in detail of what will happen when you allow your Staffy or any dog, for that matter, to be seen as “dangerously out of control.” I’ll cover what the law states, but you can visit the Controlling Your Dog in Public page here.
It’s against the law if you allow your dog to be dangerously out of control anywhere; this includes:
- In public.
- Somewhere private such as a friend or neighbour’s home or garden.
- At home.
The definition of “dangerously out of control” is your dog:
- Injures a person.
- It causes concern to a person if they believe the dog might injure them.
If you are taken to court, they have the right to decide your dog is out of control if:
- Your dog attacks another animal.
- The animal owner believes they would be hurt if they tried to intervene by stopping the attack.
As I mentioned, the penalties are severe and include:
If the court finds your dog to be dangerously out of control, you can receive unlimited fines or receive a jail term of up to 6 months (or both). You can also be banned from owning another dog and the dog put down.
If you allow your dog to injure another person, the jail term can go up to 5 years, be fined, or both. If the court believes it was deliberate, then you might be charged with malicious wounding.
If your dog kills a person and you allow it to happen, you can receive a jail term of up to 14 years, an unlimited fine, or both.
Do Staffies Need Insurance?
Surprisingly enough, many dog owners, including Staffy owners, don’t buy insurance. As I mentioned, while it’s not a legal requirement in the UK to get pet insurance, it has to be the wisest choice.
What Are The Alternatives To Pet Insurance?
One alternative is to simply pay for vet bills as they occur, which can be incredibly expensive. The cost of significant operations and long-term illnesses can be prohibitively high for most Staffy owners.
Another way to avoid the cost of insurance is to save a fixed amount each month as a kind of self-insurance plan. However, that idea doesn’t work if, sadly, your dog is diagnosed with severe disease or has an accident before you have accumulated sufficient money.
Both methods ignore one major factor by not taking out pet insurance: the lack of liability insurance. You are setting yourself up for severe financial loss if you ignore the need for liability insurance as a dog owner.
If you’re adamant, you don’t want to pay pet insurance premiums but would still consider liability insurance, then consider the Dogs Trust. If you take out membership for currently £25 per year, 3rd party public liability is included. Should your Staffy cause any injury to another person or damages to property, you’re covered up to £1,000,000 per claim.
Difference Between Pet Insurance and Liability Insurance
|Pet Insurance Coverage||Liability – 3rd. Party Insurance|
|Accidents||Bodily Injury to Others|
|Hereditary and Congenital Conditions||Other costs necessary due to pet-related legal claims|
|Alternative Therapies||Medical Costs of Injured|
|Behavioral Issues||General Liability/Judgements|
|Chronic Conditions||Lawyer’s Fees|
|Prescription Food & Supplements|
Insurance policies may offer coverage for all these eventualities; however, some policies only provide limited coverage. It’s essential you thoroughly check precisely what the insurer you choose offers.
What Does Staffy Dog Insurance Cover?
Typically Staffy dog insurance will offer a range of benefits such as:
- The cost of vet bills
- Holiday cancellation – should your Staffy fall ill or has an accident
- Accidental damage to dog accessories
- Emergency dog boarding should you have to go into hospital, and no one can care for your Staffy
- Multi-pet discounts – if you have more than one pet and you insure them under the same policy
Factors To Consider Before Buying Staffy Dog Insurance
Your Staffy’s age
Some insurance companies have an age cut-off beyond which they will not insure your dog.
Some insurance companies will not cover against a pre-existing condition; however, other companies do offer terms. You will need to check the policy details. Before taking out the insurance policy, a pre-existing condition is any health problem you were aware of and noticed specific symptoms you had treated or investigated.
How many pets do you have?
The insurance company should offer you a discount if you include more than one pet on any single policy.
What Type of Cover Do do You Require?
Most insurance companies will let you choose between accident and illness or accident only, insurance policies.
Accident and illness is the cover you need if you wish to protect yourself from vet bills because the policy covers illness and sickness and accidents. Accident-only policies, as the name implies, will only cover you if your dog has an accident.
Can You Insure Every Dog Breed?
It will not be possible to insure dogs on the government’s Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the Dogs (muzzling) regulations 1991. These acts do not relate to a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
What Does Staffy Dog Liability Insurance Cover?
Most quality pet insurance will include an option to add Public liability insurance to their policy. Suppose your Staffy injures someone when you’re out for a walk or somehow manages to damage another’s property, and you’re being held liable. In that case, you will be covered through the Liability section on your insurance.
Typically, the cover will only be valid in the UK. As previously mentioned, specific dog breeds are excluded from the policy.
Alternatively, you can notify your home insurance company that you have a dog and would like cover extended to include public liability insurance for your dog.
This information is essential; some insurance companies will not insure you for public liability claims regarding dogs unless you specifically notify them and supply the dog’s details, etc.
How Much is Liability Insurance for a Staffy?
Staffy’s tend to be healthy dogs; however, you might still want to prepare for the unexpected. The two choices of Staffy insurance you should consider are a maximum benefit or lifetime policy.
With a maximum benefit policy, you can claim more than one time for any specific condition and no time limits on new conditions.
However, as the policy states, this is a maximum benefit policy; when the financial limit is reached, no further cover is granted for that condition, even when you renew your policy.
On the other hand, while being more expensive, a lifetime policy reduces the chance of you having to pay for any treatments because the financial limit starts afresh when you renew the policy.
I mention both these types of insurance policy because generally, either will include public liability insurance for your Staffy within the policy’s price. So to that extent, it will cost you nothing extra for your Staffy’s liability insurance.
To provide you with an accurate figure, we received quotes from several well-known pet insurance companies. We supplied the same information for each quote; here are some of the results we obtained:
The information we supplied:
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- Lifetime Policy- including Liability 3rd Party Cover
- Male (neutered)
- Age 4 years
- No pre-existing conditions
- Vaccinated up to date
- Bought for £500
Best Liability Insurance for Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Petplan offers two types of cover for dog owners, and both packages provide excellent benefits. There is the 12-month cover or time-limited and covered for life.
Both policies cover veterinary fees, ongoing treatment, complementary treatment (herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy (definitely coming back as a dog), behavioural conditions, congenital, hereditary, hip-related, and dental cover.
Covered for life policies will insure against long-term chronic or recurring illness, plus short-term injury and disease. Customers must renew the policy every year – no breaks are allowed. Cover continues even of long-term illnesses such as diabetes or arthritis.
Petplan’s time-limited policies cover illnesses for a maximum of 12 months or until the next renewal; however, Petplan will not insure the same condition again even after renewal. Petplan will only consider pre-existing conditions on a case-by-case basis.
Petplan does not increase premiums in the event of claims.
Both of these plans include Public Liability cover at no additional cost and insure dog owners for compensation, legal bills, and the associated costs related to defending claims brought against them.
Petplan’s policy is to cover as many conditions as possible, so the company claims to pay 97% of all claims they receive, with 90% of claims paid within five working days.
petGuard has a range of veterinary fees, and the customer can choose from £3,000, £6,000, or £12,000 per year in vet fees; however, there’s an initial 14-day exclusion after taking out the insurance.
If the customer needs hospital treatment, the insurance will cover the dog’s boarding fees while in hospital. Cover applies for stays of more than four consecutive days up to a maximum of £1,500.
Should your dog become ill and you have to cancel a booked and paid holiday, up to a value of £5,000.
The cover also provides for damage or theft of dog accessories such as tracking devices, etc.
You can add third-party liability insurance to your primary policy, and you will be protected up to £2,000,000 per event. This cover only applies within the UK.
Overseas travel is another optional extra; however, you will carry an additional £1,500 excess on the policy per trip, and each trip cannot be longer than 60 days.
Staffy puppies must be at least eight weeks old for cover to commence, and while there is no upper age limit, there are age limits on some cover sections.
Cover continues on this policy, providing you choose Accident and Illness cover and renew each year without a break.
There are excesses on the policy, and these follow along these lines:
- Pets under eight years of age – the first £150
- Pets over eight years of age – the first £150 plus 20% of the remaining cost of treatment
- Damage to 3rd party property – the first £75
- Third-party, public liability – the first £250 of property damage claim
BoughtByMany has done their own sums working out the cost of dog insurance in the UK between 2019 and 2020. The average premium was £436.02, which equates to a little over £36 each month; cover cost varies considerably from dog breed to dog breed, and the age of the dog plays a significant factor in premium prices.
BoughtByMany is exceptionally innovative in its range of products, from features that include money back for no claims, cover for pre-existing conditions, and dental cover as standard in the policy.
Another standard protection is Public Liability Cover at no extra cost and an industry-leading level of liability insurance with £3m of cover.
Your Staffy’s age will impact the cost of your insurance severely. In fact, many dog insurance policies exclude dogs over eight years of age or heavily penalise with massive hikes to the premium. BoughtByMany offer insurance for dogs of any age; the dog owner only has to contribute 20% of any claims, and this is for only dogs over nine years of age.
BoughtByMany offers unlimited video calls 24/7 with UK vets. The system is entirely free and does not count as a claim against the policy.
Is It Worth Insuring a Staffy?
Every Staffy owner should consider pet insurance. In fact, if you have enough money to pay for veterinary bills, all the more reason for buying insurance, it’s not going to be such a financial struggle paying for premiums like it is for many other people.
The cost of veterinary care in the UK is pretty expensive, and long-term illnesses can end up costing thousands; no Staffy owner would contemplate not doing the best they can for their dog.
Paying for pet insurance also means you can take advantage of additional opportunities to diagnose illnesses, even hugely expensive and long-term treatments such as cancer.
We’ve been mainly talking about public liability or third-party insurance and undoubtedly, this is the insurance every pet owner must have. Situations out of the control of the dog owner can occur in an instant. Even worse, property damage and severe injury to someone can literally cost tens of thousands of pounds in legal and medical costs.
Liability insurance for a Staffordshire Bull Terrier is an excellent investment. Because the peace of mind it will bring is enormous.
Accident damages, legal fees, property damage, medical bills all of these costs can mount up rapidly, and before you know where you are, you are looking at £150,000 or worse, even more. The average Staffy owner doesn’t have these sums lying around; you could end up in debt for the rest of your life through no fault of yours other than owning a dog.