There is no doubt that many of us care for our pets and enjoy bringing them along in our vehicles. Unfortunately, this creates opportunities for injury to you, your pet and your vehicle. And the question of coverage for your pet from auto insurance depends on many factors.
If you have a car accident and your dog was riding with you, then you both may suffer injuries. Now, not only do you have to seek medical care, but your pet may also need treatment for their injuries. The good new is, if you did not cause the accident, the other driver’s insurance will most likely be responsible for your pet’s injuries. This coverage is provided through their property damage liability coverage.
Although most people consider pets as part of their family, insurance companies view them as property.
For this reason, bodily injury coverage is only available for your injuries, and not your pet’s injuries. Some companies, like Progressive, include coverage for pets in their collision coverage up to $1000.
In the event of death, coverage would likely be limited to the “market value” of your pet, since they are viewed as property with a set value. Occasionally, courts have allowed claims for the death of a pet to exceed market value by applying “pecuniary or special value” to pets.
The bad news is that if you are at fault in the accident, your pet may not be covered by your own property damage coverage.
To find out, call your agent or look at your policy to see if any exclusions keep your pet from being covered if you are at fault for an accident. Many insurance companies have exclusions on their collision insurance for damage to personal property (which includes your pets) that you are transporting. If your policy has such an exclusion, you won’t have a valid claim. For example, State Farm policies don’t provide coverage for pet injuries.
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that you;
- Transport cats in carriers to help them feel safe and prevent them from getting under foot.
- Use harnesses for dogs and pets to restrain them.
- Not allow dogs to ride up front in laps or passenger seat or stick head out the window.
Some insurance companies offer separate coverage for your four-legged friends.
You may want to purchase such coverage if you regularly take your pet with you in the car. Learn about your auto policy’s coverage and exclusions for pets so that you can make wise, informed decisions.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident and you need help to determine if you have a valid claim, contact Anna Betts or Sean Keith at 479-621-0006.