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Pet injury coverage
Your car insurance might cover your furry friend's vet bills — at no extra cost to you.
Enjoy letting your pet tag along for a car ride? Since accidents can happen, pet injury coverage helps you pay for medicine and vet bills if your pet gets injured during a collision. You won’t pay extra for this coverage since it’s usually included with collision or comprehensive coverage. Pet injury coverage is ideal if you frequently drive with your cat or dog and don’t have funds set aside for unexpected vet bills — which can run in the thousands, depending on the injury.
Does car insurance cover pet injuries?
Your existing auto insurance policy might cover pet injuries as part of collision or comprehensive coverage. For example, Progressive and Metromile cover pets for up to $1,000 at no additional cost as long as you carry collision or comprehensive on your policy.
You can ask your car insurer if pet injuries are included in your policy and how much you’re covered for.
Other car insurers categorize pet injuries after an accident as property damage. As callous as it seems, considering pets as property is unfortunately very common in the insurance and legal industry. This also limits pet coverage to accidents that aren’t your fault.
What does pet injury coverage include?
Pet injury insurance covers veterinary bills, medicine and related costs if your pet is injured in a car accident or other insured event, such as fire or theft in the case of a comprehensive claim. Some insurers provide up to $2,000 to cover medicine and veterinary bills for your cat or dog, which is enough to cover many minor injuries.
Much like personal injury protection for humans, pet injury coverage also includes what’s typically known as funeral expenses. In the tragic event that your pet is killed in a car accident, you’ll receive the same compensation to pay for things like euthanasia or cremation.
After a car accident, your pets are typically covered for vet costs related to the accident, which can include:
- Vet visit
- Prescription medicine
- Casts and cones
- Humane euthanasia
- Expenses for multiple pets, though maximum payouts remain the same regardless of how many pets
Pet injury coverage in action
Jack rear-ended a stopped car on the way to the pet groomer, causing his dog Molly to hit her head on the windshield.
Jack’s liability coverage covers the costs for the other driver. Because he has pet injury coverage included with his collision coverage, his policy would kick in for veterinary bills. Molly’s vet check-up and X-ray or CT scan are covered by the maximum coverage, saving Jack $1,000 out of pocket.
What’s not covered by pet injury coverage?
A few restrictions on what’s covered with pet injury coverage should make you pause and consider how much your pets are really covered for in a car accident.
- Most maximums cap at $1,000. Pet injury insurance covers veterinary bills and medicine up to your insurer’s limits if your pet becomes ill or injured after a car accident. A major injury would likely top out your limits, especially for more than one pet. The rest would have to be paid for out of pocket.
- Cats and dogs only. A pet rabbit, hamster, ferret or horse probably won’t be covered. Progressive’s policy explicitly states only dogs and cats are covered, for example.
- Accident-related injuries only. Vet bills for an accident-related broken leg would be covered. But if you add an overdue dental cleaning, the dental portion of the bill won’t be covered unless you have routine care pet insurance.
- Only your pets are covered. The pet must be owned by the owner of the policy or someone else on the policy. If you’re in an accident while pet sitting, you’re out of luck.
How to make a claim for pet injuries
To use your pet coverage, make a claim through your insurer after an accident.
- Record the details of the accident, including the other driver’s information.
- Pay out of pocket for your pet’s medical treatment.
- Make a claim through your insurer online, by phone, in person or through the mail.
- Include details of your pet’s injuries and vet bills.
- Wait for your claim to be completed.
- Receive reimbursement for your pet’s medical bills minus your deductible. In most cases you won’t pay a deductible because the coverage is part of your collision coverage.
What happens if my pet’s injuries aren’t covered?
Your vet bills might not be completely covered or covered at all after a car accident. You’ll need to find a way to pay for your pet’s bills out of pocket.
Pet injury insurance differs from pet insurance, which is like health insurance for pets. Pet insurance policies come complete with deductibles, copays and premiums — extending coverage beyond car accidents. Consider adding pet insurance if you would have trouble covering major pet bills after an accident.
Other alternatives include veterinary financing options, such as Care Credit. With vet financing, you can pay for vet bills over time or at a discounted rate.
How to prevent pet injuries in the car
- Keep your pet restrained. A pet harness with a seatbelt or a carrier from your pet supply store should do the trick.
- Don’t open the car window. Some dogs love to stick their faces out the window, but they can fall or jump out or be thrown out in a collision.
- Keep pets in the back seat. The back seat is statistically the safest place in the car, since you’re protected somewhat from front-end and rear collisions. Bonus points for strapping your pet in the middle seat.
- Choose the right car. The best dog-friendly cars should make it easy for your pet to jump in and out of, and they can feature safety nets to keep dogs from jumping from the trunk to the back or fold-down seats for easy carrier storage.
Compare companies that offer pet injury coverage
Shop around if you’re looking for an insurance company with pet injury coverage, and choose Get quotes to see your customized rate.
Your car insurance policy could already protect your pet as part of your collision coverage or general property damage. Otherwise, you may need to add pet injury insurance to extend your policy to the furriest members of your family.
Ask about limits that can top out at $2,000 with some insurers. And know what is and isn’t included by your insurer.
Compare car insurance companies to get the best protection for your car and your pets.
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