Does Auto Insurance cover Pets in a Car Accident?

Does Auto Insurance cover Pets in a Car Accident?

Pets are incredibly special. They become part of our families, and the love that we share with our beloved four-legged friends is unfathomable. However, having a pet comes with several nitty-gritty considerations, one of which is vet bills. During the course of your life, there might arise a situation when your pet is hurt in a crash. The consequent vet bills can be financially crippling. Well, what do you do in such a situation?

Thankfully, your standard auto insurance may come to the rescue in such a situation. In the United States, most auto insurance policies offer baseline coverage in cases where your pet is hurt in a car accident. Similarly, if you are on the other side of the table and have hit a dog or other animal with your vehicle, the experience can be distressing, both emotionally and financially. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, and if you have comprehensive auto coverage, you might get cover for the animal or dog’s vet bills and other expenses if you are found responsible for the injuries.

 

What is pet injury coverage: A Beginner’s Guide

As the name suggests, pet injury coverage is a type of coverage offered under some auto insurance policies. You may have to pay for additional coverage to protect your pet in case of a car accident, but your existing standard auto insurance may already include pet injury under collision cover.

However, it is essential to remember that within the lexicon of insurance coverage, pets are considered property. Thus, you are also likely to be eligible for compensation if your pet is hurt in a car accident where the other party is at fault. The coverage may have a specific threshold, such as USD 1000.

Also read: What Influences Auto Insurance Costs and How?

Similarly, you may also get insurance coverage for costs associated with a pet’s death in your family. Likewise, insurance may also provide funds to purchase a new pet, as the underlying goal is to restore your ‘property.’ Of course, every pet parent knows that no furry friend is replaceable, but such insurance coverage and financial assistance can help protect your beloved pet’s interests and ameliorate some of the distress, albeit financial, in case of a tragedy.

 

Does your auto insurance cover pet injuries?

When it comes to your auto insurance covering pet injuries, the answer can be quite subjective. Indeed, pet injuries are easily and readily available through some auto insurance policies, but they are not guaranteed. Some insurance exclude pets harmed in vehicle accidents.  

Furthermore, another limitation is that auto insurance typically covers dogs or cats and will offer veterinary care and other medical expenses to a certain extent. So, if you have a pet other than a dog or cat, then the chances of being covered for pet injury under your standard auto insurance are slim. Likewise, if the vet bills are exorbitant, you might receive optimal financial help.

Also read: Auto Insurance Explained: Your Guide

Therefore, it is essential to check your car insurance policy to confirm the level of coverage. Likewise, you can also consider getting pet insurance.

 

What Happens When An Accident Occurs With A Pet Inside the Vehicle?

When a car accident occurs with a pet inside, there can be two distinct scenarios that yield different outcomes vis-à-vis insurance coverage.

  • If You Are the At-Fault Driver

If you are embroiled in a car accident and you are at fault, the collision coverage of your standard auto insurance would cover the vet expenses of your pet only if such a claim has been explicitly made in the policy. If your policy does not extend coverage to pets and you often have your dog or cat as your ‘passenger princess,’ it is time to consider a pet injury add-on to your insurance.

And the good thing is that if you already have a collision and comprehensive car, opting for pet coverage as an add-on is usually quite cheap. A separate pet insurance policy ensures that your beloved furry friend receives the care it deserves, irrespective of who is at fault.

 

  • If You Are Not At Fault

Insurance companies view pets as properties. So, if someone else causes a car accident and your furry friend is hurt as a consequence, the other party has to pay the damage coverage, which is considered a part of liability coverage. Thus, your pet—usually a dog or cat—would get medical care.

However, you must file a claim with the other party’s insurer to get compensation for the damage. But it is noteworthy to remember that the other party or driver has a bare minimum level of liability, and it may not be enough to cover hefty vet bills.

 

What Does Auto Insurance with Pet Injury Include?

Basic pet injury coverage in car insurance includes:

  • Compensation for funeral costs and veterinary fees up to the coverage threshold in case your pet was riding in your vehicle and was hurt or killed as a result.  
  • Your automobile insurance policy’s collision coverage typically includes the expense of purchasing a new pet. As a result, pet injury claims may not be eligible for a collision deductible waiver from all insurance companies. Only a small number of insurance companies routinely include pet injury coverage in their basic policies.
  • Collision insurance is not the only option for pet injury coverage.
  • Typically, only dogs and cats are covered for pet injuries, and the pet must be owned by you or one of your household members.
  • It is imperative that the animal be present in the vehicle at the moment of collision.

 

Wrapping It Up

So, there we have it: a crisp overview of pet injury coverage under standard auto insurance policies. Pet injury coverage is not universal in auto insurance policies. So, it is essential that you ask the right questions of your insurer and opt for comprehensive collision coverage. The need becomes all the more pertinent and pressing if your pet frequently accompanies you in car rides.