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Is pet’s injury covered by auto insurance?


Question: If my pet is hurt in a car accident, will her injuries be covered?  Will my auto insurance cover the injuries?   What if the other driver is at fault, will their car insurance cover her?

Answer: If another driver is at fault, then, yes, typically their property damage liability coverage will pay for damages done to your pet -- if the car owner’s liability limits are high enough to cover both the damage to your vehicle and pet.

Pet injuries don’t fall under the at-fault’s bodily injury liability, like medical expenses for you would, since this coverage is normally only for injuries sustained by humans in an auto accident. Pets are seen as property and thus veterinarian bills would go under a property damage liability claim.

Of course, if the damages to your vehicle already maxed out the at-fault driver’s property damage liability coverage -- which are typically much lower than the limits for bodily injury -- , then, unfortunately, there would be no insurance money to pay for your pet’s injuries. You would have to pursue the other driver to personally pay for injuries your pet sustained in the accident.

If you’re the driver at fault, then your property damage liability insurance coverage wouldn't cover your vehicle or your own damaged property, such as an injured pet. You could file a claim for your car’s damages under your collision coverage, but there is only one insurer that we currently know of that covers pet injuries under collision coverage -- Progressive.

Most car insurance companies wouldn’t cover your pet in any way if you were the at-fault driver. For your own injuries, you can use medical payments or personal injury protection, but these medical coverages don’t extend to animals.

However, Progressive automatically includes in their collision coverage benefits pet injury coverage of up to $1,000. There is no extra charge for this pet coverage, and you can use collision coverage regardless of fault in an auto accident.

Right now Progressive’s pet coverage only covers cats and dogs, the most common types of pets, and not pigs, ferrets or other exotic pets. To make a claim for your pet’s injuries, the pet must have been injured inside the vehicle during an auto accident. Progressive says the coverage doesn’t cover a pet struck with your car by accident.

Progressive’s $1,000 pet coverage under collision coverage doesn’t replace pet insurance, which would cover your pet in the event of illness or injury.

If you are concerned about your pet being covered by your auto insurance, then you can check to see if Progressive gives you the best car insurance rates.

If their rates are higher than you’d like, comparison shop for  better car insurance rates and obtain a separate pet insurance policy for your pet -- and make sure it would cover injuries sustained in a car crash.  (See “12 ways to double-check your savings”)

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