Animals For Members

Reader question: Is pet insurance compulsory in France?

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Reader question: Is pet insurance compulsory in France?
One man and his dogs... (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP)

Owning a pet can be expensive enough, but there are some breeds of animal for which additional insurance is compulsory.


Having pet insurance is merely optional - and a pretty good idea - for most pet owners.

It is, however, a legal requirement for anyone who owns certain breeds of dogs.

What dogs must have pet insurance?

Officially, the only people who must have pet insurance against material damage or bodily harm it may cause are the owners of dangerous dogs, or guard dogs, known as 1re or 2e catégorie dogs.

Owners of these animals are obliged to have insurance guaranteeing civil liability. You can take out specific insurance, called private life civil liability.


If you have comprehensive home insurance, civil liability coverage may be included in your home insurance contract - check your level of cover to be sure.

READ ALSO What is the law on dangerous dogs in France?

Dogs for which pet insurance is required include American Staffordshire terriers, rottweilers, mastiffs, and Tosas – and dogs that are crossed with these animals.

Purebred dogs should be registered in the livre généalogique, known as livre des origines françaises (Lof) which is held and maintained by the société centrale canine, or in a similar register from another country that is recognised by society.

Not having the correct insurance for these animals leaves owners liable to a fine of up to €450.

In case of doubt, it is up to a veterinarian to determine the breed of a dog, so owners may want to obtain a veterinary certificate confirming the breed of their pet in case of a police check.

READ ALSO What you need to know about microchipping your pet in France

There are strict additional rules on keeping so-called dangerous dogs, which you can read here

What about everyone else?

If you own a different breed or dog, or another type of pet, insurance is not required.

It may, however, be a good idea - the owner of any pet is responsible for any damage that their pet may cause – whether it is in their care or has strayed – so some form of insurance may be a good idea, anyway.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: The ways you can adopt a pet in France

Comprehensive home insurance includes civil liability coverage which may cover damage that may be caused by your animal - check your policy to be sure.


The reason that most people have insurance is to cover vet bills, which can easily run into hundreds of euro if your pet has an accident or gets ill.

If you can't afford insurance or vet fees, there are charities that can help including the SPA and Fondation Assistance aux Animaux - more details here.


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