Dogs love to ride in the car with their human families, some cats do too. And us humans love to have them with us. But what happens when your furry friend is injured because they're in the car when you get into an accident?
In the eyes of the law, pets are considered property, so being reimbursed for the cost of your pet's medical bills is the same as being reimbursed for damage to any other property.
Of course, to their owners, pets are more like members of the family than property. They give you endless amounts of love, laughter, and comfort. If your pets is injured in a car accident, it could feel like one of your own children is injured. And in addition to the emotional toll, the financial cost associated with treating your pet's injuries can be significant.
So, what do you do? Here are the places you should look following a car accident that injures your four-legged companion:
If the accident was your fault, follow your insurance company's process for making a claim, which will require submitting a copy of the police report and the bills you incurred as a result of the accident.
Pet Injury Coverage
Your car insurance may offer additional coverage for pets injured in a collision. For example, Progressive includes pet injury coverage at no extra cost for policyholders who have collision insurance. There is no deductible, and policyholders can receive up to $1,000 for their dog or cat's veterinary bills or as a benefit in the case of their death. Many other car insurance companies include pet injury coverage as well. Check with yours to see if you have pet injury protection.
Note that most car insurance companies only cover cats and dogs, so if your ferret or parakeet is injured or killed in a car accident, your car insurance will probably not cover them.
Negligent Driver's Insurance
Florida requires all drivers to carry car insurance with at least $10,000 in property damage liability. Since pets are legally considered property, you may be able to recover some money from the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident.
States have different laws about how much money can be recovered for pets that are injured or killed in an accident. If you have a rescue dog that you paid $90 for at the animal shelter, and that dog sustains $4,000 in injuries in a car accident, in some states you may only be able to recover $90 because under the law that's all you need to “replace” that “property”! Of course, to anyone who loves their pet, there is no replacing them, and the idea is offensive.
Pet Health Insurance
Pet health insurance has become more popular in recent years, and it works just like health insurance for people. If your dog or cat is covered by a plan, it can help pay for their veterinary bills following a car accident.
Personal Injury Attorney
Dealing with insurance companies can be frustrating. It can be hard to get the money you deserve. If you or your cat or dog have been injured in a car accident that was someone else's fault, you should consider hiring an attorney who can help you recover all of the funds you're entitled to. Personal injury attorneys are paid a percentage of the funds they recover for you, not an up front fee, so there's no initial cost.