Having your dog or cat injured in a car accident is a nightmare scenario, and it’s one situation you might want to be prepared for if you’re a pet owner.
In a situation where another driver accidentally hits your pet, any vet bills may be covered by the driver’s property damage liability insurance.
If your pet was injured in an accident you were involved in, you may actually have coverage without even knowing it. Pet injury coverage is a relatively “new type of coverage that may be part of your auto insurance policy,” according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
It pays for pet injury treatment up to a certain limit, and may be included in your comprehensive or collision coverage. Check with your insurer to see if you’ll have this protection available. Some companies only include pet coverage in certain states.
Here are a few details we were able to round up from specific insurers:
At Progressive, protection for dogs or cats is automatically included in policies with comprehensive/collision coverage. It’s called Pet Injury Coverage. That coverage will pay up to $1,000 in vet treatments “if your dog or cat is injured when you’re in a car accident.” If the worst happens and your dog or cat dies because of those injuries, Progressive will pay a $1,000 death benefit.
Years ago, it was a push from the public that brought Farmers to begin offering “dog-gone good automobile coverage” for pets. This coverage may offer up to $600 per injury for your pet if you have both comprehensive and collision coverage.
The Chubb Group
In 2011, the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies announced that it was adding up to $2,000 in pet coverage to auto policies in some states. The coverage can address treatment after car crashes for the Fido’s, Garfield’s and Lucky’s of the world who “are often overlooked members of the family” until an accident occurs.
Keeping Your Pet Safe
Even though you may have pet protection through your policy, you should still take precautions when it comes to your pet. The tips for driving with your pet in the car are basically the same as for driving with a child in the car: don’t leave them alone in the car, and make sure they’re restrained while you drive.
If your dog is in the car with you, buckle him or her up, says the AAA. The Auto Club says that in a survey only 16% of drivers say they use a form of pet restraint while driving with they’re four-legged friends. AAA says restraining your pet in the back seat limits distractions while you drive and protects them from airbags that could actually hurt them if unrestrained in a crash.