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Does your pup often ride shotgun in your car? Many dogs love a good old road trip, but what happens if you have a collision and your furry friend gets injured? Do car insurance policies cover medical expenses for pet injuries as they do with humans? The short answer is it depends on a few factors.
As you know all too well, any type of insurance can be complicated and confusing. So, we break down all the details about pet injury coverage in auto insurance to help you know what to expect and other options you may want to consider. We also have tips on how to keep your pup as safe as possible on road excursions.
What To Do If Your Dog Gets Injured In A Car Accident
Automobile accidents are frightening enough, but having your beloved pet in the car seriously kicks up the fear factor. If you get in a car crash with your pet, you’ll need to assess his condition as soon as possible. Common injuries to pets in car accidents include head trauma, bone fractures, and lacerations. Even if you can’t see any visible signs of injury, your pup may have suffered internal damage.
Signs of internal injuries can include disorientation, inability to focus, glazed eyes, increased heart rate, labored breathing, pale gums, weakness, and growling or whimpering when touched or moved. Internal damage can be life-threatening, so even if you don’t notice any signs, you should have your vet examine your pup to play it safe.
Serious dog injuries can result in thousands of dollars in vet bills, and the last thing you need to worry about is how you’ll be able to afford medical care for your furry family member. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your pup is covered in case of an accident.
Does Car Insurance Cover Pet Damage In An Accident?
Auto insurance may cover your pet if he’s injured in a car accident, but there are several factors that come into play. Your existing policy may already include pet injury coverage, so be sure to read the fine print.
It’s also important to understand the type of coverage you have. Liability coverage only protects you from damages you cause to other people and their property. A collision portion of auto insurance only covers damage to your own vehicle, no matter who is at fault. Most people have both liability and collision coverage because auto lending and leasing companies typically require both. Many states also require a minimum level of coverage.
If The Other Driver Is At-Fault
Insurance companies consider pets as property. So if another driver causes a car accident and your pet gets injured, that driver’s liability coverage would cover vet expenses for your pet because they’re considered your damaged property. But keep in mind that the other driver may only have a minimal level of coverage, which may not provide enough to cover all of your pet’s medical care in addition to other property repairs needed.
If You’re At-Fault
When you’re the at-fault driver in an auto collision, and you only have liability coverage, then your pet’s injuries aren’t covered. If you have collision coverage, it may cover your pet’s veterinary expenses, but only if that’s explicitly stated in your policy. Some insurance companies offer add-on pet injury coverage, so you’d want to check with your provider to see if it’s available, particularly if your pup frequently rides in your car.
Car Insurance Pet Injury Coverage Details
Every policy is different, so make sure you fully understand what your insurance provider offers. But here are some general things to know about pet injury coverage.
- To qualify for coverage, your pet must be in the car when the accident occurs.
- You or a household member must own the pet for coverage to apply.
- Animal collision coverage usually only applies to pet dogs and cats.
- Pet injury insurance reimburses you for vet bills and burial expenses (up to coverage limits).
- Deductibles and coverage limits apply when filing for a pet injury claim. Coverage can be anywhere from several hundred dollars to $1,000 or more.
- Pet injury insurance sometimes covers the cost of a new pet if yours dies in an accident.
Consider Getting Pet Insurance For Accidents and Illnesses
To provide your dog or cat the best possible medical coverage regardless of who’s at fault, you may want to consider getting pet insurance. Pet insurance is important if you’re faced with expensive vet bills to treat your injured (or ill) furry family member but don’t have enough cash on hand to cover the costs. Severe pet medical emergencies can end up costing $4,000 or more for diagnostic testing, surgery, hospitalization, medications, and follow-up care.
Another benefit, most pet insurance providers allow you to set high reimbursement levels (up to 90% or 100%), which aren’t capped at the lower level you’d likely get with car insurance pet injury coverage. By paying a low monthly premium for pet insurance, you’ll have the peace of mind that your pet can get the medical care he needs in any type of accident after you’ve met your deductible. Use our free tool below to get multiple pet insurance quotes instantly.
Car Insurance Providers With Pet Injury Coverage
Here are a few auto insurance providers you may want to consider if your pup rides in your vehicle often.
Nationwide’s pet injury coverage is included in their collision auto insurance. It pays up to $1,000 for vet treatment and medications when your dog or cat is injured in a car accident while riding with you. It also provides compensation if your pet dies. There’s no deductible and no limit on the number of covered pets. For better protection, you may want to consider Nationwide’s pet insurance.
Lemonade offers an add-on for pet injury coverage with their auto insurance. It pays out up to $1,000 for medical treatment if your pet gets injured in a car crash with you. In 2020, Lemonade also began offering pet insurance with affordable premiums, optional wellness plans, and a convenient AI-driven claims process.
Pet injury insurance is included in Progressive’s auto collision coverage. If your dog or cat is injured in an accident in your car, it pays covers up to $1,000 in vet treatment. Progressive also offers pet insurance through Pet’s Best, our top choice for the best pet insurance provider.
Other Companies To Consider
- Chubb: up to $2,000 included in collision coverage
- Elephant: up to $1,000 under collision coverage
- Erie: covers up to $500 per pet with a total limit of $1,000
- Metromile: up to $1,000 under comprehensive and collision policies
- The Hanover: up to $2,500 with no deductible
How Many Dogs Die In Car Accidents?
We couldn’t find many statistics on dog injuries and deaths caused while riding in a vehicle, but here are some dog car accident stats you may be interested in.
- An estimated 100,000 dogs are killed by riding in pickup truck beds every year.
- 1.2 million dogs are killed on the roads in the U.S. every year (this includes being hit by vehicles while not in the car).
- Thousands of accidents happen yearly because of unrestrained dogs distracting drivers. It would be wise to consider a dog seat belt.
- Only 16% of drivers use pet car restraints despite over 80% admitting that they recognize the dangers of driving with an unrestrained pet
- An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a 50-mph car crash exerts 500 pounds of force, and an 80-pound dog in a 30-mph car crash exerts 2,400 pounds of force.
- One study of 140 dogs involved in car accidents found that the survival rate was 83.2%.
Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting A Dog?
Auto comprehensive insurance pays for damage to your car when you hit a dog or other animal, but no type of car insurance policy covers injuries for a cat or dog hit by a car unless they’re riding in a motor vehicle. But a pet insurance policy that covers accidents does. Again, this is one of many situations in which pet insurance can help your dog get the medical care he needs in a terrible moment.
How Can I Better Protect My Pup In The Car?
Car pet safety is extremely important — and legally required in several states. Restraining your pup in your car can not only protect him, but it’s also crucial to minimize driver distractions, a major cause of vehicle accidents. Check out our guide on traveling with dogs in the car for safety and practical tips. And see our reviews of the best dog car restraints, including seatbelts, harnesses, car seats, and more.
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