Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2019

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Many drivers have pets as passengers and it’s very important to also protect your pet with auto insurance.

With very few pet safety features offered by automobile makers, our pets are undeservedly vulnerable passengers any responsible owner should consider what could happen while your furry friend is on board.

Is standard auto liability insurance enough to cover Fido’s injuries in the event of an accident?

Use our FREE car insurance rates to compare policies today!

How does the law protect your pet in a car accident?

It is important to know how the law views the relationship with your pet. If you are involved in an accident caused by another driver, you may collect money for a pet’s veterinary care as you would collect for damages to your car.

Pets being property under the law, the other driver would be liable for any injury to your pet.

If you want your pet to be covered for injuries resulting from an accident that is your fault, then you will need to purchase additional coverage on your auto insurance policy.

The Explosion of Pet Insurance and Animal Law

Since the day billionaire Leona Helmsley willed $12 million to her white Maltese, animal law has become one of the fastest growing legal fields in America. Although we see our pets as members of the family, the law sees them as merely property.

There are virtually no laws regarding the safety of a pet riding in the cab of a vehicle.

Traffic on the road is unpredictable, and emergency veterinary care is universally expensive. Pet injury coverage steps in to protect your wallet from hefty vet bills stemming from an auto collision.

Who offers Pet Insurance?

Many auto insurance companies offers $1000 or more in pet injury coverage free with some policies. If you purchase collision coverage with your policy, then your pet will be covered in case of accident, fire, or theft that results in loss or injury. While this feature is a valuable add-on, it is a selling point that appeals more to the heartstrings than the purse strings.

Since most auto insurance companies are furnishing the same coverage, granting coverage to passenger animals has more to do with clever marketing than true value.

This policy perk makes a cute picture on the website, but it is a small bonus for a policy that is twice as expensive as basic liability coverage.

Of course, no amount of money would genuinely represent the affection we feel for our pets. But there is nothing wrong with assigning a dollar value to what you would spend to save its life. Humans can indulge in guilt-free favoritism when it comes to their animal dependents.

Knowing that your insurance company will cover an emergency trip to the vet will help to keep the stress out of excursions.

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To truly be as safe as possible, and not just insured, then it is wise to follow the sensible advice that auto insurance companies propose regarding traveling with a pet. This guidance is suggested to keep pets safe from harm, and to protect the insurance company from avoidable claims.

Nearly every insurance company will have a list of guidelines to follow to ensure health and happiness for you and your pet during outings.

State Laws and Pets in Automobiles

Most states have laws regarding to dogs riding in cargo areas like the bed of a pickup truck. Regulations for dogs traveling in open cargo spaces mandate a double-restraint system for securing the animal. Two independent restraints will prevent the animal from becoming a projectile during a collision.

Does breaking the law while driving with a pet invalidate the coverage you might expect from your policy?

That’s the question you will want to ask your auto insurance agent if you are considering an auto insurance policy with pet coverage.

Auto insurance companies have banks of experts who calculate risk, and they specialize in exploiting any circumstance that leads to denial of your claim. Companies rely on teams of investigators who take advantage of exclusions in the contracts, such as fraud or “acts of God.”

You may have trouble collecting for loss or damage if the expenses were avoidable – possibly even prescribed under the laws in your state.

Ultimately, it comes down to securing your pet to prevent serious injury, which is essentially what the auto insurance companies suggest. They recommend that all pets be sheltered by a well-fastened cage or carrier while in transit.

That way the law, common sense, and good insurance policies come together to preserve your pet’s health and safety, and to keep your family happy!

Use our FREE car insurance rates to compare policies today!

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  4. What is Uninsured Motorist or Under-Insured Motorist Coverage, and Do I Need it?
  5. Does full coverage car insurance cover engine damage?