Are Pets Covered by Car Insurance?

If you're involved in a collision while your dog or cat is riding in the car, will their injuries be covered by insurance?

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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. Let's explore how car insurance would work to cover your beloved pet's injuries.

Pet coverage and car insurance

1. What happens if I get in an accident while my pet is in the car?
2. Insurance companies with pet coverage
3. Tips on driving safely with your pet

What happens if I get in an accident while my pet is in the car?

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, your pet's injuries could be covered in one of a few different ways. However, no matter who's found at-fault, you should make sure to always hold onto your receipts.

If you're at fault

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 ridealong 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

Some car insurance companies offer coverage for pets.

Progressive

If you have collision coverage through Progressive, pet injury coverage is included at no extra cost and covers 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, killed, or stolen from your car.

Erie

If you live in a state where 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.

Tips for safe driving with your pet

Accidents happen even if you consider yourself a safe driver. Whether or not your pet is sufficiently covered in case of an accident, you can take steps to mitigate injuries and keep your dog or cat as safe as possible when they're riding along with you.

  • 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.
  • 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. See The Zebra's 2019 report on distracted driving here.
  • 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 quotes and find a pet-friendly policy today!

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