Pets And Auto Insurance: What You Need To Know As A Driver

Posted on: 20 May 2015

Do you take your pup to the dog park a lot? Are you concerned about taking your cat to the vet? What happens if you get hit by another driver -- will your auto insurance help? And what if your accident was your fault? Pets and auto insurance are a complicated subject that many drivers forget to think about. It's important to realize that pets are not covered under "medical" coverage. What else do you need to know about auto insurance coverage for pets?

Does Your Auto Insurance Cover Your Pet?

The simple answer: if you have to ask, it probably doesn't. Auto insurance does not generally cover pets. It's a special add-on that you need to ask for. So if you aren't certain whether or not your auto policy will currently cover your puppy or kitty passenger, it's very unlikely that you had asked for it. Not all companies even offer pet insurance as an add-on, so if you're committed to getting it  you might have to switch companies. 

How Much Will My Auto Insurance Cover?

Unfortunately, most auto insurance policies, even with the pet coverage add-on, have quite a low cap on what they will cover. The amount is usually under $1,000. For an emergency veterinarian visit, this may not be enough to make a significant dent in the bills. There are insurance companies that will offer more, but you may need to shop around with the help of an agent.

How Much Will Their Auto Insurance Cover?

What if you get struck by someone else? In this situation, your pet is generally considered to be property. Your pet's injuries will come under the property damage section of the other person's insurance coverage. So if you're not at fault for an accident and your pup is injured, it's likely that you will fare better than if you were at fault. Further, if the other person wasn't insured against property damage, your insurance company's underinsured motorist coverage should kick in. Conversely, if you hit someone and their pet is injured, they will be reimbursed for the injuries through your property damage coverage. 

If you're really concerned about the possibility of something happening to your pet, you might want to consider purchasing pet insurance. There are pet insurance policies that only cover preventative visits and there are others that will also include emergencies. But if you also want your auto insurance to cover your pet, you should inquire with your insurance agent to find out more.