Americans love their pets. So if yours is injured with you in a car accident, you're undoubtedly concerned with getting them the right treatment too. But is a pet covered by insurance? And what options do you have to be compensated for veterinary bills if necessary? Here's what every pet owner needs to know.
Are Pets Covered By Insurance?
Medical costs for pets in accidents may be covered by your or the other driver's insurance policy. However, it's not mandatory. For insurance purposes, pets are classified as personal property. They are usually either included or excepted through specific clauses in a vehicle policy, though, rather than broad personal property coverage.
What Is Covered?
If your or the other driver's vehicle insurance includes pet injury, it will detail the limits. Many policies have a dollar limit, such as $1,000, in available compensation.
The policy may also cover replacement costs if your pet dies as a result of their injuries. This can seem cold-hearted to families who love their pets, but financial restoration is the only avenue the insurer can provide to make you whole.
What If Pets Aren't Covered?
Because pet injury isn't part of every policy, you may find that there is no insurance for your pet's medical bills. Or you may have to turn to your own pet insurance, if you bought it.
Don't give up on compensation, though. You can sue an at-fault driver in most states in civil court. This is a personal injury lawsuit, brought either in small claims court or state courts. You may sue the driver even if you were reimbursed for some of your vet expenses.
Is It Worth Suing Over?
To sue a private party for personal injury or damage, it's important to first determine if the defendant has assets that can be used to pay any financial award you win or negotiate. The high cost of serious medical injury or expensive cars makes this less likely. However, pet care and replacement are often much more limited. So it may be more worth your effort to win a judgment.
In addition, pet lovers may simply want closure and acknowledgment of their loss — especially if their pet died. Proving that you weren't responsible for your beloved pet's death may be valuable enough to take it to court.
Where Can You Learn More?
Was a pet injured in your car accident? If so, start by learning more about pets and insurance coverage. Meet with a personal injury attorney in your state or click here to read more about the topic.