Dog Health Insurance and Liability Dog Insurance


Is Pet Insurance Worth it?

When you have a German Shepherd, should you take out insurance? To insure your dog costs money, so you may think: Is pet insurance worth it?

In my personal point of view, a large, strong, and agile outdoor dog like the German Shepherd should always come with dog health insurance and liability dog insurance - regardless of any legal requirements (which always only serve people who can't think for themselves). Yes, dog insurance may cost quite a bit and this adds up over time to considerable amounts. However, having an ill German Shepherd family member or one with behavior problems may in future cost you much more.

Without insurance the risks are too high. Consider this:

  • Your German Shepherd may become ill or injured
  • Your dog may destroy something in a place you visit
  • Your GSD may (allegedly) have contributed to someone's injury or loss of property

Vet treatments of an illness or injury can add up to considerable amounts. Dog health insurance can cover these costs for you. However, at least as worrying as the vet bills I find the prospect of third party claims for property damages or personal injury. Thus, liability dog insurance seems essential.

Your German Shepherd may barely have sniffed at a passerby, but the passerby may send a claim that he took flight in fear, fell over some barrier, and broke his hip or whatever. As a result, you may end up paying for years to come - whether his claim was justified or not!

Therefore we would always recommend to take out either a reasonable combined policy of dog health insurance and liability dog insurance, or separately a reasonable dog health insurance and a reasonable third party liability dog insurance.

What is a reasonable dog insurance? A reasonable insurance is one that:

  • covers conditions that are likely to become chronic (and thus would incur high costs over time)
  • covers conditions and injuries that would incur high one-off costs
  • covers events that are rather unlikely to happen but if they happen they would incur high costs
  • is structured in a way that discourages the insured to file fake claims - because these would make your own policy excessively expensive
  • and are, of course, with a provider that is reliable in case of a claim, and is financially stable

The key features of insurance policies that discourage the insured to file fake claims, avoidable claims and unnecessary claims:

  • Every insured should have to cover a certain amount per insured condition or event. Either an absolute amount like eg $250, or a percentage amount like eg 10%. This does not prevent fake claims, but it discourages them because upon filing a claim the insured have to open their own wallet too.
  • The insurance policy should only cover extraordinary conditions or events - those that come as a surprise or those that cannot be avoided. For example, the dog health insurance should not cover the costs of dental cleaning or dog grooming, because both are routine treatments that you can (and should) ordinarily provide to your GSD on a regular basis. For example, the liability dog insurance should not cover the costs of an injury your dog sustains merely due to chasing towards a moving car or bicycle, because you can (and should) ordinarily avoid this with appropriate German Shepherd dog training or more specifically with German Shepherd obedience training.
  • The dog health insurance policy should only cover medical treatments and their associated costs, not eg cosmetic treatments - unless you insure those separately and pay an extra premium for those.

In summary, both insurances are crucial if you have a dog, the dog health insurance and the liability dog insurance. Because it's two things less to worry about: What could happen to your GSD, and what could happen to other people and their property (allegedly) because of your GSD.

We have reviewed the dog health insurance and liability dog insurance policies in the USA, Canada, and the UK. Although none of the policies is ideal in every regard, there were clearly some policies better than others. At the moment, the following insurers offer the best value for money, as outlined above:

Dog Health Insurance
USA: 24PetWatch
Canada: Petsecure
UK: Argos

Liability Dog Insurance
USA: - currently analysing -
Canada: - currently analysing -
UK: Argos

As is typical in Europe, Argos combine both dog health insurance and liability dog insurance in a single policy. Both cover adequate amounts: up to £7000 per year for health matters and up to £2 million for liability matters.

Note that in Europe including the UK, any damages relating to your dog generally are not covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Hence, even where not required by law, having a liability dog insurance for your German Shepherd is a very wise decision - which may potentially save you hundreds of thousands of pounds from claims by a third party, whether justified or unjustified!

Conversely, for the USA and Canada you will have to contract the liability dog insurance separately - unless your homeowners insurance policy provides cover for your German Shepherd too (since here dogs are considered part of property).

However, recent policy amendments have made this increasingly unlikely: The insurers have quietly amended their policies, and the reason is this: Dog-related damages have become the biggest cause of homeowners' insurance claims! Hence, probably unnoticed by the insured, most insurers have meanwhile excluded or strictly limited dog-related damages.

This, together with the fact that the USA are probably the most litigious nation in the world, would make you expect that at least all US dog owners have a liability dog insurance. However, because of the exclusion or strict limitation of dog-related damages in homeowners and renters insurance policies, less than 1% of the about 78 million dogs in the USA are actually insured. In other words, over 99% of US dog owners risk their entire personal wealth for their dog! This makes me almost faint in disbelief.

Dog owners who do not have liability dog insurance can lose their homes, their assets and their income as a result of a single dog bite or other dog-related incident - unless they are insured for it! In the USA alone, there are between 4.7 and 5.5 million dog bite victims every year. And that's just dog bite incidents! Although most dog bites do not result in serious injury, a significant number cause devastating scars and disfigurement. A thousand Americans daily are treated in emergency rooms as a result of dog bites. Dog bite damages alone exceed one billion dollar per year!

Unfortunately, since in the 1970s and 80s a few badly treated German Shepherds had caused human fatalities, the German Shepherd breed is on the vicious-breed list. Therefore, when you study the fine print of your homeowners or renters insurance policy, you will probably discover that dog-related incidents are not covered in your case (and your family members are not covered by your policy anyway!).

This makes it all the more crucial that every German Shepherd owner should urgently get a liability dog insurance - regardless how well-trained and docile your German Shepherd is in general. Accidents happen because they are accidents.

Anyway, the separation of dog health insurance and liability dog insurance in the USA and Canada can actually be beneficial - because again, you can select the most suitable provider for the liability dog insurance too.

If you first want to know more about dog health insurance, you can find relevant details in the book Your Guide to Understanding Pet Health Insurance. It also shows how to avoid having your claim denied should you need to file a claim. We are not aware of a similar book on liability dog insurance.

A final note: Trained protection dogs that have had Protection dog training regularly require a separate indemnity insurance before you can obtain the licence for your trained protection dog. This policy will help to protect you as the dog owner from claims from the injured attacker.


 Comments via our New Facebook Page Managed by Krystal! - Thank you xx

Just Note:

1. To fight SPAM anything with a link lands in SPAM
2. To go live any bark must be relevant to this page
3. Be polite, introduce yourself with what you found, not with a help request

  8 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one


    Does your website have a contact page? I'm having problems locating it but, I'd like to send you
    an e-mail. I've got some creative ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.


    I live in the UK and am looking to get a German Shepherd. We have done lot's of research on what would be the most suitable dog for our family and we keep coming back to the GS. The only concern i have now is i keep coming across this "legal liabilities" and i'm not sure what that means for us. Please could you give me as much info on this as possible. Thanks.


      Sarah pl see the public article with further links above. For subscribers we also have comprehensive Periodicals on the topic. Note that even a small dog better be insured to avoid high cost in future...
      The insurance cost is comparatively negligible.


        Thank you. I completely agree about getting any dog insured, I was just a little unsure of the legal liabilities bit. Thanks for the help.


        Sarah, after subscribing send me an email and I'll return it with the relevant Periodical link. I lived in the UK very long myself and know that Alsatians ;-) don't need to worry there - they are well looked after, incl. insurance-wise. Having a GSD is not expensive at all in the UK. Well, of course food is a bit more than for the Chihuahua. ;-)

        But if you live in the typical densely populated neighborhood you will have to ensure optimal dog training to avoid legal issues.


    This is great content. You've loaded this with useful, informative content that any reader can understand. I enjoy reading articles that are so very well-written.


    I can no longer take my German shepherd to the dog park on weekends because ignorant parents bring their babies in strollers to the park! But the dogs get blamed for any issues. Unfortunately there is no law against stupidity.

Bark away ... just note:

1. To fight SPAM anything with a link lands in SPAM
2. To go live any bark must be relevant to this page
3. Be polite, introduce yourself with what you found, not with a help request

 Speak your heart out

Jonathan: "Thank you for your period advice. It is excellent! My GSD puppy is now 8 months and we read your advice regularly."
Dwayne: "I love this site and the info you post onto it. Thanks again!!!!"
Penny: "Thanks for making your great articles available to all of us. it's nice to know that a recommended product is actually available in my country."

Stay with us and your dog will stay with you, both of you healthy and well-behaved.
If you are ever unhappy with anything we write, do or don't do, we want to be the first to know, thanks.

Disclaimer: Always apply your own common sense when you follow anyone's suggestions. As much as your dog is special (s)he may react different too.

© MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - All content is protected. You must not copy or spin or otherwise change our content to republish it in your name, another one's name or without a name. If you wish to make use of our Intellectual Property Rights contact MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG. Thank you.

There's nothing quite like a healthy and well-behaved German Shepherd who freely guards every corner of your home, who brings you peace, who brings you joy!
Welcome to MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - we help you that YOUR DOG does not end up in a(nother) shelter!