You buy auto insurance because you want to be protected from the costly ramifications of unexpected incidents on the road—such as accident damages, lawsuits and injury costs. One loss that is likely to cost you a lot of money is passenger injuries. As such, it’s a good idea to consider carrying medical payments benefits, personal injury protection (PIP) or similar coverage on your auto insurance policy. After all, these benefits can provide assistance if you or someone riding in your car gets injured in an accident.
But what if your passenger is the four-legged kind? Thousands of people travel with their pets every day. Furry friends are just as susceptible to injury, trauma or death in a car accident as any other party. Who will look out for them if the worst happens?
Luckily, auto insurers understand the worry that comes with the thought of your pet sustaining any injuries in an accident. That’s why many insurers now offer pet injury coverage endorsements that you can add to your current auto policy. This is a benefit that many pet owners don’t know they need until it’s too late. Let’s take a closer look at how this insurance benefit can help protect you and your four-legged friend behind the wheel.
Understanding Pet Injury Coverage
Most auto insurance policies offer medical payments benefits. This coverage is provided to the insured party to cover both their own and their passengers’ medical bills in the event that they sustain injuries in an accident. This benefit will offer coverage regardless of whose fault the accident was. That being said, even if the accident was someone else’s fault, you can still receive benefits quickly and avoid waiting for a liability settlement.
However, this coverage will not cover pets traveling in the vehicle with you. Rather, you will need to obtain pet injury coverage through a separate benefit. This coverage is offered as an endorsement for multiple auto insurance policies. Such an endorsement is designed to provide a medical and/or death benefit to pets following their injuries or deaths in accidents on the road. While not nearly as expansive as the standard coverage offered to humans under medical payments benefits, pet injury coverage will still provide a generous sum in the event that your pet sustains injuries in a car accident.
This coverage can ease your cost burden as you help your pet recover from their injuries.
The Terms and Limits of Pet Injury Coverage
Pet injury coverage is very similar to medical payments coverage for humans. Should your pet get injured in a vehicle-related accident—or worse—die because of it, then your auto insurer should provide compensation. However, there are a few limitations to this benefit that you should be aware of:
- Most pet injury plans will only offer a relatively small payout for pet injuries—usually no more than $500 - $1,000 per claim. This compensation might not equate to the full amount necessary to cover your pet’s injuries, but it can still provide a suitable settlement.
- Plans limit this coverage to scenarios in which your pet is traveling in your vehicle with you. Therefore, if your pet wasn’t in your car when the accident occurred, then your plan won’t provide coverage.
- Some plans will cover your pet if they are traveling with you in non-owned vehicles—such as a rented vehicle—provided that your auto policy also extends to the vehicle in question.
- Many pet injury endorsements will provide benefits for pets injured in both collisions and accidents that don’t involve collisions. An “other than collision” hazard for which your coverage might apply could be if your car catches on fire on the side of the road while your pet is still inside—thus causing injuries. However, your pet must be riding in the vehicle when the incident occurs for the benefit to apply.
- Most plans will only pay up to their limits on a per accident basis. Therefore, if your plan has a $500 per accident benefit, it will pay a total of $500 for all injuries in the accident, regardless of how many animals get injured. As a result, even if three pets sustain injuries, the most money you can receive for a claim is $500.
Pet injury benefits are beneficial to include within your auto insurance policy. They can provide you with considerable financial relief in the event that your pet gets injured or killed in a car accident. Here at Lupton & Luce insurance, we are committed to helping every driver obtain a policy that is best for them (and their four-legged friends). With this in mind, don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to get the most out of this insurance benefit.