If you get into a car accident, your car insurance policy, at the very least, will pay for damages to the other party. If the other driver is at fault, his/her insurance will pay for damages to your vehicle and your medical bills. If the other party is uninsured, or you are ruled to be at fault, your collision coverage (if you have it) will pay for damage to your own vehicle. Likewise, if you have medical payments coverage, or an adequate health insurance policy, your own medical bills will be covered. But how about your pets? What if they are in the car with you when you get into an accident? Will they be covered? Continue reading below to learn if auto insurance covers pets, and if not, what supplemental insurance you can buy to make sure they are covered.
What Happens If You Are Not At-Fault In An Accident And Your Pet Gets Injured?
Whether your pet is covered or not really depends on the auto insurance company. While insurance companies do not all offer pet coverage, they do offer property damage coverage – and that’s how your pet will be covered. If you are left scratching your head at this, allow me to explain.
Many people consider their pets to be part of the family. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not view them that way. A lot of insurers will treat pets as property. While this sounds a bit harsh, this designation is not all bad. The reason being, of course, is that auto insurance companies will pay for property damage in an accident.
If you are involved in an accident and you are determined to be not at fault, the other party’s insurance coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle, your medical bills, and your property. As stated above, this includes damage to your pet.
The reason that property damage will be paid for, in the event of a car accident, is because all states require basic liability insurance in order to drive. Basic liability insurance includes bodily injury liability coverage, which will cover the other party’s medical bills. It always includes property damage liability coverage, which will cover damage to the other party’s vehicle and property. Damage to pets, therefore, will be covered by the other driver’s property liability coverage.
If you are involved in an accident that isn’t your fault, and your pet is injured, you will then need to submit a claim. In order to do this, first follow our steps for properly submitting an auto insurance claim. The most important things to remember are that you need to take pictures, document everything, and save all paper work.
Remember that this shouldn’t be the time to get all of your pet’s lingering health issues fixed. Just because the other driver’s insurance will pay for medical costs related to injuries sustained in the accident does not mean they will cover other procedures for issues that existed before the accident. Therefore, when you bring your pet to the vet, either only treat pet injuries that were accident related, or get separate invoices for accident related and non-accident related medical work.
What Happens If You Are At-Fault In An Accident And Your Pet Gets Injured?
Like stated above, car insurance companies consider pets to be property. Therefore, if you’re at-fault in an accident, the other person’s liability coverage will not cover your pet. In that situation, your pet will be covered under your own collision coverage. This, however, depends on two things: 1) That you have collision coverage on your policy (not all do). 2) That your collision coverage covers pets (not all do).
To determine whether or not your car insurance policy covers pets, the best thing to do, of course, is to give your car insurance provider a call and speak with an agent. If your policy is not equipped with collision coverage or pet coverage, they will be able to add it on to your policy if they offer that type of coverage.
Auto Insurance Companies That Offer Pet Coverage
Progressive, for example, has a special pet injury coverage option for dogs and cats that will cover up to $1,000 in in veterinary bills. It will also offer a $1,000 payout if your pet is killed. Progressive customers will see this coverage built into their collision coverage. The good news for Progressive policy holders is that this coverage option comes with all insurance policies that have collision coverage, at no extra cost.
Erie Insurance has a similar coverage option for pets. Erie will pay up to $500 in vet bills for your dog of cat if they are injured in an accident. They will also pay out $1,000 if your dog or cat is killed in the accident. Erie, unlike Progressive, is only licensed to do business in 12 states, so first make sure if Erie sells insurance in your area before considering them for coverage.
Chubb, like Erie and Progressive, also offers pet injury coverage. Chubb, however, is the most generous, offering $2,000 for pets that are injured or killed in a car accident. This coverage is not included in their standard policy, however, so if you are a Chubb policyholder, you will have to talk to your insurance agent about adding this coverage. Similar to Erie, Chubb is only offered in a limited number of states.
Additional Coverage Options For Pets
If you want more comprehensive, all-encompassing coverage for your pet, consider buying a pet insurance policy. Pet insurance will cover your pet in all situations, not just car accidents. It will also cover animals apart from dogs and cats, which is more than most car insurance policies can say. The Progressive, Eric, and Chubb coverage options described above will only cover dogs and cats.
If you want to shop around for pet insurance, first give your auto insurer a call. Oftentimes, these large insurance companies offer more than just auto insurance. GEICO, for example, offers insurance for cars, houses, apartments, boats, RVs, pets, motorcycles, etc. By bundling your different insurance policies under the same company, you can take advantage of some serious savings.