Is Pet Insurance a Must-Have in France?

Originally posted on & updated on 26th February, 2024

There seems to be a lack of information regarding insuring pets in France. As a rule, all cats and dogs require to be IDed and vaccinated. While it is possible to purchase pet insurance, this is less commonly used in France compared to the UK and other countries. There is no law to say you must have pet insurance; it’s not like microchipping - which is mandatory for dogs in France.

Public Liability

However, the owner is responsible for the material damage and bodily harm that it may cause to a third party. This applies whether the animal is in his care and supervision or whether it has escaped or got lost. French homeowners’ insurance policy includes civil liability covering damage an animal may cause to you, your family, or a third party, which is compulsory in France.

French Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is similar to medical or health insurance because it helps cover unexpected vet bills when your pet becomes ill or injured. This allows you to recover the expenses incurred on treatment if your pet is under a certain age limit. However, it’s important to note that the level of coverage may only be partial, so choose the right insurance plan for your beloved animals.

What is a Pet?

A pet is any domesticated animal kept and nurtured by a person for companionship, emotional support, or entertainment. The primary purpose of pet ownership is to experience the joy and fulfilment of caring for and bonding with an animal. It is important to note that pets should never be subjected to cruelty or exploitation for monetary gain. The French Penal Code makes it an offence to abuse, commit an act of cruelty towards, or abandon a domesticated, tamed, or captive animal seriously, physically or sexually.

Adopting a Cat or a Dog in France

Looking to welcome a furry friend into your French life? Consider adopting from an animal protection association or shelter (refuge) like the SPA (Société Protectrice des Animaux). Not only will you give a deserving animal a loving home, but you’ll also be supporting a worthy cause dedicated to rescuing and caring for abandoned and mistreated animals.

Adopting from an animal sanctuary or a refuge offers numerous benefits; each animal receives veterinary care, vaccinations, and often spaying/neutering before adoption. The friendly staff will match you with a pet that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences, ensuring a harmonious introduction into your home. You’ll find a diverse range of cats and dogs of all ages, breeds, and personalities waiting for their second chance at happiness. By choosing adoption, you’re not just saving a life; you’re gaining a loyal companion who will shower you with unconditional love and enrich your life in countless ways. Visit your local SPA or shelter and embark on a rewarding journey of shared compassion and joy.

Can I Buy or Adopt a Dog in a Pet Store?

Since January 1, 2024, pet stores can no longer give dogs and cats free of charge in their establishments. This article, L. 214-6-3 of the Rural and Maritime Fishing Code (CRPM), aims to fight against animal abuse and to strengthen the bond between animals and humans.

The objective of the law is to fight against impulsive purchases of dogs and cats, which too often lead to abandonment. Pet stores can, however, advertise and sell online:

  • by connecting breeders and future buyers
  • by keeping animals in dedicated premises separate from the store

Pet stores are authorised to present cats and dogs belonging to foundations or animal protection associations for adoption. These are cats and dogs resulting from abandonment or whose previous owners have not been found. In this case, volunteers must be present to support the adopters.

How Can I Find a Pet?

There are many animal shelters and pet rescue homes called refuges in France full of cats and dogs looking for new owners; check the SPA website or ask your local Mairie for advice. If you are considering buying (or adopting) a pet or you are expecting kittens or puppies, there are rules regarding acquiring an animal (free, paid or by birth) in France :

  • You can buy a cat or dog from a breeder or seller
  • You can adopt a cat or dog from an animal protection association or shelter (refuge)
  • You can buy a cat or dog from a private individual, but only if it is an adult animal

Tips About Buying a Cat

Bringing a feline friend into your life can be delightful, but it’s crucial to research before diving headfirst and falling for the first kitty you see. Consider your lifestyle – kittens are bundles of playful energy, while senior cats may prefer calmer environments. Research breeds known for specific temperaments, like the laid-back Maine Coon or the playful Siamese. Don’t forget that cats require dedicated playtime, scratching posts, and litter box upkeep. Opt for reputable breeders who prioritise health and responsible practices. Adoption offers another option, giving a deserving kitty a second chance at happiness. Regardless of whether you buy or adopt, ensure you can provide a loving, stable home for your new furry companion. Cats can live for 15-20 years, so be prepared for a long-term commitment!

Tips About Buying a Dog

Before welcoming a dog into your life, consider the commitment and responsibility of canine ownership. Research breeds that suit your lifestyle and energy levels. Again, look for reputable breeders who prioritise health and temperament testing. Prepare your home with dog-safe supplies, establish consistent training routines, and factor in ongoing costs like food, vet care, and potential walking services. Remember, your new friend will rely on you for years to come, so ensure you’re ready to provide a loving forever home.

Dangerous Dogs in France

Certain dogs considered to be potentially dangerous are subject to specific regulations. These dogs are classified into attack dogs or guard and defence dogs, which are subject to certain obligations if you own a dog from one of these categories.

The guard and defence dog category includes dogs resulting from crosses comparable by their morphological characteristics to the Rottweiler breed. It is recommended to obtain a veterinary certificate if you need clarification on an animal’s breed, as only a veterinarian is competent to make such a determination. This certificate can be presented to authorities if requested.

Most Expats Insure Their Pets

While it is not mandatory to have insurance for most pets, expats in France like to protect their four-legged friends. Owners of animals living in busy towns or sensitive breeds in the countryside should consider insurance for their cats and dogs if an illness or dramatic accident arises.

Photo from Beth at Fat Dogs in France

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