Does My Car Insurance Cover Injuries to My Pets?

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Q: Will my car insurance cover injuries to my pets?

My family takes frequent long-distance road trips and we always bring our two Golden Doodles with us. Sometimes they get a little out-of-control in the minivan and I worry about them getting hurt, particularly if we are in a car accident. I know that my car insurance will cover medical treatment for me and my family in that case, but will it also cover veterinarian services for the dogs?

A: The simple answer is: most likely not. While there are some car insurance companies that will cover injuries to pets, they are the exception, not the norm. The best way to ensure that your pets are covered for treatment of potential injuries is by purchasing a pet insurance policy, or a car insurance policy. 

The coverage offered by pet insurance can differ significantly from one provider to the next, so it is important to weigh out what each policy offers before making a purchase. An independent agent can help you do this. While they typically will not cover preventive care, such as vaccinations and neutering services, you can buy a policy that will cover pet illnesses and injuries. That way, if your pet is injured during a car ride or gets sick while you’re out on the road, you will have coverage. 

But I do need to give an important bit of advice. You mentioned that your dogs tend to get out-of-control in the car. Be aware that this can be very distracting for the driver and can lead to an accident. In fact, the American Automobile Association (AAA) reports that distracted driving leads to approximately 6,000 collisions every year. If at all possible, you should secure your dogs with canine seat-belt harnesses when traveling.

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