Driving With Pets: What Your Auto Insurance Covers

Colorado motorist Marcia Pinkstaff was horrified to hear that her 9-year-old lab mix was “totaled” and declared “a complete loss” by her auto insurance company. “I don’t see how you could total out a family pet,” she told Channel 7 Denver. Yet, when her dog was struck by a mini-van  — injuring her lungs, liver and diaphragm — Farmers Insurance agreed to pay for the initial trip to the veterinarian and one follow-up exam, but nothing more. They even offered to pay for a replacement dog! According to an unnamed industry spokesperson, dogs are covered in the “property” portion of an auto insurance policy and are not covered in the same way as people.

Differences In Coverage

Not all auto insurance companies approach pet care precisely the same way, so it pays to get several different quotes and look into coverage options if your four-legged friends travel with you often. For instance…

  • Progressive automatically covers up to $1,000 in medical bills if your pet is injured in an automobile accident.
  • Farmers Insurance covers up to $600 per pet injured in an accident.
  • Chubb Insurance pays up to $2,000 for pets hurt in crashes in select states.
  • Arbella Mutual Insurance offers additional pet coverage for $20/year, which covers up to $500 per pet.

Limitations

  • Typically, only dogs and cats are covered.
  • If the accident was your fault, you may not be eligible for pet insurance coverage.
  • If the accident was not your fault, the other driver’s insurance may kick in to pay your pet’s medical bills.
  • There is a cap for payments that may range from $500 to $2,000.
  • If your pet dies, you may be able to receive assistance for burial costs.
  • Some companies (like Progressive) will cover your pet, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

Why Not Shop Around?