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Friends Don’t Let Man’s Best Friend Drive Without Pet Insurance

I don’t have children. Or, maybe it’s more correct for me to say I don’t have human children. I do have a dog – an Australian Shepherd named Goose who is, without question, the handsomest, best, sweetest, most well behaved creature to ever have lived. And I say that without a hint of prejudice. I’m “that girl” at social gatherings who likes to refer to stories about my dog when other people are telling cute stories about their children. “Oh, little Johnny is misbehaving? I remember when I was training Goose; I discovered that hot dogs were a great motivator for good behavior.” Things like that. It drives parents of human children crazy. It makes me laugh.

But maybe you understand my perspective. Dogs are a central part of the American household. They are a multi-million dollar industry – Martha Stewart has a pet accessory line at Petsmart. I’m not kidding. But more importantly, they are the happy little heartbeat at our feet when we come home from a long day. They are the unconditional love that never talks back. They are capable of expressing a soul full of love with one look and embody the definition of selflessness. Many people take them everywhere they go and, if your dog is anything like mine, going for a car ride is the doggy equivalent of a week-long trip to Disney.

What happens if they are injured in a car accident?

That question was brought to my attention by a client recently and I felt it was worth some investigation. Here’s what you need to know. If your pet is injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence then that person’s auto insurance policy should cover them because pets are considered property. They pay to fix the bumper, and while they are at it pay for fixing Fido. Same thing. Problems arise when the accident is your fault, or when the person who hit you has no insurance coverage. In that situation your bodily injury coverage does not extend to poor Pupper. They are not considered a human body by the insurance industry and therefore won’t be covered by your standard policy. How can you protect your pet?

Fortunately many insurance companies are beginning to realize the importance of protecting our pets, considering the number of them happily covering the backseat in dog hair. Some of the ones that I uncovered through a quick internet search are: (1) Progressive’s Pet Injury Coverage, the best in my opinion because it’s included free in Collision coverage, covers up to $1,000.00 of injuries to cats or dogs in auto accidents or during fire or theft, and extends to relative’s pets who live with you; (2) Chubb Auto Insurance will cover up to $2,000.00 in vet bills, and will even cover replacement costs but is only available in Arizona, Maryland, Texas and New Jersey; (3) Farmer’s Insurance Company will cover up to $600.00 in pet injuries and cover the costs associated with a pet’s death due to auto accident injuries.

Be an educated consumer! Call and find out what coverage is available to you and your fuzzy little friend. If the questions become too complicated the attorneys at Rutter Mills have years of experience making sure that you and all your passengers are well cared-for.

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