Does Car Insurance Cover Pet Injuries? It Depends

by Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent
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Does Car Insurance Cover Pet Injuries? It Depends
If your cat or dog was in a car accident, you may be able to get financial assistance for vet bills through your policy’s pet injury coverage.

Car accidents can be stressful and costly, but if your cat or dog was traveling with you and got hurt in a wreck, the situation becomes much scarier. Hopefully, everyone involved is okay and able to walk away from the scene safely, but our four-legged friends can’t tell us what’s wrong or how badly they might be hurt.

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If your pet appears to be unwell or in pain after an accident, know that you could face some very expensive bills for emergency hospitalization or critical veterinary care. In this experience, you might be wonder, “Does car insurance cover pet damage in an accident?”

Depending on your provider, pet injury coverage in car insurance can help pay the veterinary fees due to a car accident. In this post, we’re exploring when and how car insurance covers pet injuries, as well as what other options you might consider if you don’t have this type of financial protection.

Here’s what we'll go over:

What happens to dogs in a car crash?

Pets aren’t immune to car accidents. Although the survival rate of 83.2% is encouraging, they can still sustain serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries to pets in car accidents include lacerations, head trauma, and bone fractures.

If your pet is injured after an accident, the first thing to do is make sure they are okay and assess them for any injuries. In addition to scanning for visible wounds, also look for signs of internal injuries such as rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, glazed eyes, and whimpering when touched or moved.

Internal injuries can cause severe trauma to your pet’s body and they might go into shock, which is why it's a good idea to get them checked out by a vet, even if they look fine.

vet helping injured dog

Does car insurance cover pet damage in an accident?

Insurance providers consider pets to be the property of the owners, So, if your cat or dog is injured in a collision, they are considered damaged property.

If you have comprehensive coverage and collision coverage as part of your car insurance policy, you might be covered for the expenses to treat injuries your pet sustained from a car crash, or for funeral expenses if they don’t survive the accident.

However, there are some exceptions that can prevent coverage. Depending on the insurance, your pet’s injuries might only be covered if someone else causes a cat or dog car accident. In that case, you can file a liability claim against the at-fault driver's insurer to have them reimburse or pay you for the damages.

If you are the at-fault driver, your collision coverage would pay the veterinary expenses for your cat or dog only if this is explicitly stated in your policy.

Will my pet be covered if they are hit by a car?

Sadly, the answer is no. While car insurance can pay for damage to your vehicle caused by hitting a dog or another animal, if your pet is hit by a car, you will need broader pet insurance.

If your pet gets hit by a car, you could be faced with hefty vet bills to get them back on their feet, in which case pet insurance can make a big difference. If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, Accident-Only pet insurance can be an affordable option that covers the cost of treatment for your pet if they have been involved in an accident.

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How much does dog accident coverage payout?

Most car insurance policies compensate up to $1,000 for veterinary bills related to a cat or dog car accident injury. The maximum limit for this type of property damage usually applies regardless of how many pets were injured in the car with you. Also, payouts are usually only made within a year of the accident date, so you can't compensated for damages from an incident that happened over 365 days ago.

Car insurance coverage for pet injuries alone may not provide sufficient financial assistance to relieve the hardship vet bills may cause. The cost of medical pet emergencies commonly add up to $5,000 or more for diagnostic tests, imaging, surgery, and hospitalization. Some injuries may also require ongoing rehabilitation, such as canine chiropractic or physical therapy, that extends well beyond a year after the injury.

In these cases, a pet insurance policy is very valuable because it can reimburse 70 to 100% of out-of-pocket vet costs once your annual deductible is met.

What car insurance companies have pet injury coverage?

The following auto insurers offer coverage for pets:

Nationwide

Nationwide Pet Insurance also offers auto insurance that covers up to $1,000 for treatments and medication if your cat or dog is hurt during a car accident. They may also provide loss of pet compensation if he or she dies as a result of the crash. There’s no limit on the number of pets that are covered and there’s no deductible.

Progressive

If you have Progressive Pet Insurance, you can also get a collision policy for up to $1,000 in coverage for medical care related to pet injuries from car accidents.

The Hanover

The Hanover compensates up to $2,500 for medical costs and funeral expenses if your dog or cat is injured in an accident. There’s no deductible for pet injury coverage.

Erie

Erie covers up to $500 per cat or dog with a total limit of $1,000 in associated medical expenses. It should be noted though that Erie insurance is available in 12 U.S. states and Washington, DC.

Integon

Integon reimburses up to $1,000 per pet injury incident, regardless of how many animals are involved. The benefit is capped at $3,000 for veterinary bills or the cost to buy a new pet.

Metromile

Metromile also pays up to $1,000 for medical expenses if your pet is hurt or killed in an accident. They also provide reimbursement for expenses related to pets stolen from cars.

The Hartford

If you have collision coverage from The Hartford, you have the option to purchase add-on pet injury benefits. The coverage compensates you for veterinary expenses if your pet is hurt while riding in your vehicle or for the cost to buy a new pet in case yours doesn’t survive.

Who needs dog accident insurance?

Dog accident insurance can be a worthwhile investment if you frequently travel with a canine co-pilot or own a business that requires you to transport pets, as well as anyone who would have a difficult time affording their pet's emergency veterinary care.

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How to protect your pets while traveling

While accidents aren’t completely avoidable, there are several steps you can take in order to make your pet more secure in case a car accident happens:

  • Ensure your pet will not distract you while driving. Many pet owners get into car accidents because they are busy paying attention to their pets and can’t focus on the road. Make sure that you have enough toys and activities to distract your four-legged friend and to prevent them from distracting you.
  • An unrestrained animal is at a higher risk of injury to both themselves and your other passengers. For this reason, it is best to use a safety harness or seat belt or restrain your pet in a crate while traveling.
  • Consider a separate pet insurance policy if you often travel with your cat or dog, especially if your existing car insurance policy doesn't offer pet injury coverage. Having pet insurance will ensure your veterinary bills are covered in case of a collision regardless of who is at fault. Use Pawlicy Advisor to [compare pet insurance plans]((https://www.pawlicy.com/insurance-company/) and quotes, so you can find the best solution for your four-legged friend.

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Key Takeaways

  • Pet injury coverage can help cover vet bills or funeral costs in the event that your dog or cat is injured or killed while riding with you in a car accident.
  • The list of car insurers that offer coverage for pets includes Progressive, Nationwide, Erie, Metromile, etc.
  • To make your pet more secure in case a car accident happens, consider providing toys and activities that will prevent them from distracting you or restraining them. You should also consider purchasing a separate pet insurance policy to make sure you’ll have coverage for your pet regardless of who is responsible for the accident.

Kari Steer, Licensed P&C Insurance Agent at Pawlicy Advisor

About the author

Kari Steere, Licensed Insurance Agent

Customer Support - Pawlicy Advisor

Kari Steere is a licensed P&C insurance agent in all 50 states and has focused entirely on pet insurance since 2019. As an animal lover with a rescued Terrier named Barry, when she's not helping pet owners find the perfect plan on Pawlicy Advisor, she runs a ranch in Oregon and rehabilitates any animals that come across her path.

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