Dogs are such an integral part of family life that they are included in local and interstate travel in automobiles and recreational vehicles. Pet participation adds joy to family travel because the entire family is present for every event along the way. Dogs love to participate and enjoy seeing new places and meeting other dogs from all over town and around the country. Once the family pet becomes used to going in the car or RV, leaving them behind is almost impossible.
When the unthinkable happens and a dog is injured in an automobile accident, the pet’s injuries have not been covered by the automobile insurance policy, until now. One of the most innovative insurance advancements is pet injury insurance, pioneered by Progressive (and discussed in detail below given that many other car insurance companies are taking note and designing similar pet car insurance benefits), which has been developed to address the gap in coverage incurred by the insured motorist to care for his loving pet.
Pet Injury Insurance vs. Pet Insurance
Standard pet insurance covers pet illness and injury that occurs at home in the normal course of life. Dogs that love to travel with their owners have not been covered for injuries that occur in the car. Automobile insurance companies have recognized the financial impact of injuries to man’s best friend and are beginning to create an additional benefit to cover veterinarian bills.
Pet injury insurance is typically nestled in the collision coverage of automobile policies offered by certain auto insurance companies. Injuries incurred in the accident that are treated by a veterinarian are typically covered up to $1,000. A simple fall that injures the pet while in the moving vehicle is not covered by the pet injury insurance. The car must be damaged in an accident and require repairs that are sufficient to require payment from the collision or comprehensive portion of the auto insurance policy.
The automobile insurance policy must have a collision component to include the pet injury insurance coverage. Comprehensive policies automatically include collision insurance. One coverage component of a typical pet car insurance policy is $1,000 toward veterinarian bills incurred when a pet is injured in an accident that requires repair of the vehicle under the collision component.
Deductibles are paid on the automobile repair and do not apply to the veterinarian bills. After treatment has been obtained for the beloved pet, copies of the bills are provided to the insurance company, and the owner is paid up to $1,000 for the incurred expenses.
Pet injury insurance coverage is typically built-in to the collision coverage without increasing the premium charged for the policy. The added benefit is focused on relieving expense for the insured driver in the event of an accident that would require repair to the vehicle.
All collision automobile insurance policies have the pet injury component without having to be requested by the insured motorist. When a family pet is acquired, that animal is covered by the policy if the pet is inside the vehicle at the time of an accident. No special effort to record pets on the policy is necessary.
One nice benefit to look for in a pet car insurance policy is that any pet belonging to the same household that is riding in the vehicle will be covered by the pet injury coverage. Typically each pet is not required to be listed on the policy to qualify for the coverage. When multiple pets are inside the vehicle and injured in an accident, the veterinarian bills are covered up to $1,000 per incident. Use of the collision coverage qualifies the insured to file a claim for the pet injury expenses.
An additional benefit that can be offered is if a pet is stolen from a vehicle and then injured in some way then that will covered under comprehensive component of the auto insurance. Also, an automobile fire that invokes the comprehensive coverage should also cover the pet for injuries sustained in the fire.
If the pet dies in an accident or fire that invokes either comprehensive or collision coverage component of the auto insurance policy, the pet injury insurance will likely pay out a death benefit to the pet owner for the loss of the beloved pet. No amount of money could replace the pet, but the money can relieve some of the final expenses as average pet burial expenses can be pricey.
Minor incidents that do not require automobile repairs under the collision component of the auto insurance policy will typically not trigger pet injury coverage. If the pet simply falls out of the vehicle while it is moving, the veterinarian bills associated with that injury are usually not covered under a policy.
When the dog loves to ride in the car with his head out the window in the wind, an eye injury incurred by a small piece of debris or insect is also typically not covered under the pet injury insurance. Just because the pet is inside the vehicle does not invoke the pet injury coverage in an auto insurance policy.
For the unfortunate pet that is hit by a car, the pet injury insurance in the automobile insurance policy typically does not cover the veterinarian bills incurred to treat the injuries associated with the event. These injuries would be covered under the separate pet insurance policy.
Traveling with Pets
Traveling with pets has become much easier in recent years because hotels, resorts, and campgrounds welcome pets with special play areas and daycare facilities. Since pets spend more time in the car than ever before, pet injury insurance is a logical addition to auto insurance coverage. No one wants to need the insurance coverage, but peace of mind comes from knowing there is a monetary compensation component to the auto insurance policy for the care of a beloved pet.
Only a couple of insurance companies currently offer the pet injury coverage, but others will follow in the coming years because of the appeal to pet owners. Consumer pressure will encourage most major insurance carriers to add this compassionate benefit to auto insurance policy coverage. Until then, care must be invested to keep pets safe while in moving vehicles of every size and type.
Our Guest Blogger: Samantha is a dog lover and part-time writer for a consumer website to compare car insurance quotes. When she is not researching money saving car insurance tips and tricks she can usually be found hiking trails near her house with her husband Tom and their German Shepherd Leonidas.