Protecting Your Pet From the Dangers of a Car Accident

Car safety is a hot-button issue that emphasizes precautionary measures to protect passengers. Safety features such as seat belts, airbags, and hands-free devices—along with as car insurance coverage—all help to protect you and your fellow car-mates. However, these precautions aren’t enough to always protect every passenger. People don’t always think about necessary safety measures when it comes to their animal passengers.

Are your furry traveling companions covered in the event of injury or death? Maybe. It all depends on certain criteria.

Pet Injury Collision Coverage

Most insurance companies will cover cats and dogs within the property damage section of a collision claim. Since pets are legally considered the property of the owner, any damage inflicted on the animal is considered damage to property. As a result, a property damage claim will cover vet bills and funeral expenses. However, some exceptions do exist that can prevent coverage. These include:

  • Personal fault. Depending on the insurance, pet injuries may only be covered if the collision was the fault of another person. If you’re found liable for the accident, any injuries sustained will be your responsibility. It’s important to note that some insurance companies will compensate pet injuries regardless of fault, but those insurance policies are uncommon.
  • Animal type. The majority of property damage clauses will only include injuries sustained to dogs or cats. Any damage sustained to reptiles, birds, or other pets isn’t usually covered.
  • Severity of damage. As with conventional property damage claims, pet injuries are only covered up to a certain dollar amount. In most cases, the insurance company will compensate up to $500 worth of treatment or monetary and emotional loss.

Protecting Your Pets While Traveling

Even if you’re covered by injury insurance, you need to make sure you do everything you can to ensure your pet’s safety. The next time you take your four-legged friend on a road trip, remember to always take the following precautions:

  • Restrain him. So many people allow their pets to move freely when in a vehicle. What they fail to realize is that an unrestrained animal is unstable. The slightest jolt can send him flying, while a severe collision can throw him either out the window, into the windshield, or into another person. To prevent the risk of injury to both your pet and your human passengers, you should always restrain your pet in a crate or harness while the vehicle is in motion.
  • Distract him. A bored pet is a distracting pet. Many pet owners regularly get into accidents because they’re too busy paying attention to their energetic pet to focus on the road. Whether you’re driving a block or 200 miles, always make sure you have activities and toys to distract your animal companion—and to prevent him from distracting you.
  • Cover him. Sometimes you can do everything possible to keep your dog safe in the car, and an accident will still leave him injured. Speak with your car insurance company about whether or not you can add protection for your pet to your policy, or look into additional pet insurance.

Know some fellow dog lovers that could benefit from these tips? Please feel free to share this article with them on Facebook.

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