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Does car insurance cover pets?

It depends. While pet coverage is readily available by some car insurance companies, it's not always a given — some insurers automatically include coverage for your pet if it happens to be injured in a car accident, but most do not. Generally, auto insurance covers only dogs or cats and will cover veterinarian and other medical expenses up to the coverage limit.

In some circumstances, if your pet is injured in an accident and you don't have pet coverage, it may be possible to cover their medical expenses through other means. As always, check your car insurance policy to confirm the level of coverage. If your dog or cat isn't covered, you can always use the Zebra to look for a new policy with some of the best value insurance companies on the market. Now, let's explore how car insurance would work to cover your beloved pet's injuries.


What happens if an accident occurs with a pet in the car

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a pet's injuries could be covered in one of a few different ways. 

If you're the at-fault driver

If you get in a collision and you're at fault, your collision coverage would cover your pet's vet expenses only if this is explicitly stated in your policy. If your policy does not extend coverage to pets and you often let your dog ride in your car, consider adding an endorsement — if you already have collision and comprehensive coverage, pet coverage is usually quite cheap or even provided with no extra premium.

If you're not at fault

Insurance companies see pets as property. If someone else causes a car accident and your pet is injured, the other party's property damage coverage (considered a part of liability coverage) would cover the medical expenses of your dog or cat. You would need to file a claim with the other party's insurance company to have them pay or reimburse you for the damages.


Car insurance companies with pet coverage

The below car insurance companies offer coverage specifically for pets.

Progressive

If you have collision coverage through Progressive, pet injury coverage is included at no extra cost, covering up to $1,000 in damages and vet bills.

Metromile

Metromile also includes pet insurance coverage with its collision coverage, covering up to $1,000 of medical expenses or compensation if your dog or cat is injured or killed in a collision, or stolen from your vehicle.

Erie

If you live in a state in which Erie offers car insurance, the company's pet coverage has a limit of $500 per dog or cat with a total limit of $1,000 in veterinary bills and medical expenses.

Compare pet insurance rates

If you're looking for a pet insurance policy that extends beyond on-road incidents, consider using Pawlicy Advisor.

The site allows you to easily compare quotes from more than 100 pet insurance providers and to buy a policy in just a few minutes.

Get pet insurance quotes at Pawlicy Advisor.


Safe driving tips with a pet in the car

Accidents happen, even to the safest of drivers.

Whether or not your pet is sufficiently insured in case of an accident, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of injury and keep your dog or cat as safe as possible when they're riding along.

  • Consider separate pet insurance if you often drive with your pet and your current insurance doesn't offer pet coverage. Having a separate pet insurance policy would be a wise decision for peace of mind, as it will guarantee coverage — no matter who's at fault — of veterinary expenses up to the specified limit. Compare pet insurance quotes.
  • Ensure your dog or cat will not impede your physical or mental ability to drive the car. If your dog is unsecured and crawling on your lap, underneath the car seat, and generally making you take the eyes off the road, it becomes a huge safety hazard for everyone involved, including other drivers on the road.
  • The safest way to drive with your pet is to use a seat belt or safety harness specifically designed for car rides. If your pet won't tolerate these options, consider crating your dog or cat and securing it in the back of your vehicle.
  • If possible, train your dog during its early years to behave calmly while riding in the car. Your pup probably loves riding along with his head sticking out the window, but if you happen to get in a collision — even a small accident or fender bender — the animal could be likely to sustain a serious or fatal injury. It's much safer for a dog to sit or lie down on the seat while wearing a harness.

Compare car insurance quotes and find a pet-friendly policy today!

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Kristine Lee
Kristine LeeManager, Content and Data

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer.

She is an authority on all things insurance and covers the ins and outs of auto, home, life and renters insurance. Her specialty is in providing data-backed insights and information to help insurance shoppers make informed decisions.

Kristine's insurance expertise and research have been cited by publications such as CNBC, Car and Driver, Business Insider, Yahoo!, The Balance, Nationwide and Elephant.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.