Since pets are usually treated as cherished members of the family, many people opt to get pet insurance policies to cover them for health care and illness. However, the only accidents that are covered under these types of policies are the ones that do not occur in a car. Since pets are often taken along to ride in cars with their owners, it is important to understand that any injuries sustained in a vehicle will not be covered by pet health insurance.
Auto Insurance Pet Classification
Even though animals are considered like family members, insurance policies only designate bodily injury coverage for people. It may sound harsh, however other damages, including pet injuries, are always considered to be property damage.
Auto Insurance to Protect Pets
If an accident was not the fault of the pet owner, the other driver’s insurance policy usually covers the pet under the property damage liability policy. However, if the accident was caused by the pet owner, the pet’s injuries are generally not covered by the owner’s insurance policy.
With the exception of one or two companies, very few policies will cover an animal when the owner was found at fault for the accident. When they do, the coverage is part of the collision part of the policy. In this case, the provider often limits the amount from $500 to $1,000.
To guarantee coverage for pets in accidents, each car insurance company operates differently. Some firms offer special riders for very little cost with regard to animals so that their injuries may be covered. Also, some auto insurers allows funds to be used for burial costs if necessary. Sometimes responses received from insurers are difficult to understand. If you still seek answers, it’s best to contact a local legal advocate.
One way to minimize injury, pain and suffering for beloved animals is to ensure that they ride as safely as possible. Below are some safety tips to keep in mind while traveling in vehicles with animals.
1. Keep dog and cat collars and tags on at all times.
2. Pets may be comfortable in a carrier, however, if one isn’t available, the dog or cat will need to travel on a seat. Using a dog safety seat can make it more comfortable for the animal for sudden stops.
3. Line the seats with a blanket. The more comfortable the animal is, the less agitated and nervous he or she will be.
4. Ensure that the pet is not able to roam around the vehicle. Consider using a pet safety belt and installing a wire grid to keep the animal from jumping over the back seats.
5. Whatever type of restraint is used, be pro-active and do not allow the pet’s head to extend past any open window.
Keep in mind that collision coverage for animals also applies to both cats and dogs riding in recreational as well as commercial vehicles and boats. Also, the more comfortable and safe that an animal is, the more smooth the trip will be, for them and you. Nervous animals roaming around a vehicle in and of itself can contribute to an accident.
Since it only takes a few minutes for an animal to succumb to heatstroke, the state of Florida prohibits leaving a dog, cat or other animal unattended in parked vehicles without adequate ventilation. Owners may face civil fines for neglect of up to $257.00. In addition, depending upon the circumstances, criminal charges may be filed by law enforcement officials.
Following the above tips will help keep animals safer in any vehicle. Since most car insurance policies will only cover animals if the accident is not the owner’s fault, it is strongly recommended that a rider be added to the policy to ensure that beloved pets are protected, should an unfortunate car accident take place. Be sure to ask what the maximum coverage is, and also if accidents other than auto are covered.
Having had several pets that loved traveling with their ears in the wind, free-lance writer Teresa Stewart publishes these tips so pet owners can be prepared in advance for accident outcomes. In Florida, attorneys Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, at http://www.injurylawyers.com/fort-lauderdale-auto-accident-attorney/, actively protect their client’s interests in the case of an auto accident. Whether it’s about a pet’s injuries or the client’s own, in dealing with an insurance company, they vigorously fight for the client’s best interests.
Photo Credit: Mosman Council (CC BY 2.0)
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