An Owner's Guide to Insuring Pets
It's indisputable. Our fur babies are members of the family. We love them, and they return our love. As a nation, we spend in excess of $69 billion every year on the care and feeding of our pets. If something happens, is your pet insured? It seems like a simple question. But like most insurance-related inquiries, the answer depends on the policies you choose. If your pet is wounded, you will want to know whether your insurance will come to your aid. Likewise, if your pet injures another living being or damages property, you need to know if your insurance will respond.
And what about health insurance? Just as you insure the health of other family members, you can insure your pet's health. Should you? Only you can answer that, but you will want to think about how your family will cope if your beloved pet is injured or becomes seriously ill.
Pets & Your Standard Insurance: Homeowner's, Renter's & Personal Umbrella
Your Labrador Otis is your best bud. You let him out in the backyard as usual, but this time he comes back inside limping. After a visit to the vet, he's diagnosed with a torn ACL and needs expensive surgery. Will your homeowner's or renter's policy cover the cost? Most likely not. Pets are considered by insurance companies to be personal property and most homeowner's and renter's insurance policies exclude personal property such as animals, birds or fish. Some insurance companies do offer riders (also called “endorsements”) to include coverage for injuries to pets. Before you purchase a rider, though, you should consult your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent. Riders often have restrictions and may only apply to dogs and cats, or may apply only to specific breeds. In your own case, you may require a separate policy. Your agent will help you understand your available options for the pets you own.
What if My Dog Bites or Injures Someone?
Some standard insurance policies — homeowner's, renter's or personal umbrella — do cover injuries to others caused by your pets. However, some policies my exclude coverage for certain pets or breeds. To understand any possible restrictions, discuss all of your current pets as well as any new pets you might adopt during the policy term with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent.
What if My Pet Damages Property?
You discover that your precious kitty has clawed through a wall or has caused some other form of damage to your home. Bad news. Most policies won't cover the cost of repair to your own home. Check with your independent agent to learn how your policy would respond to such damage and to see what coverage options might be available. But if Milo damages someone else's property — say she chewed up the wires in your neighbor's car — most policies will cover the cost of the property damage.
Pets & Your Auto Insurance Policy
Your lab, Otis, loves car rides, but your Ragamuffin cat, Milo, hates them. Regardless, most pets must ride in the car at some time or other. If you're involved in a traffic accident and your petinjured, coverage for that injury will depend on the auto insurance policy of the at-fault driver, whether that's you or another person. For purposes of auto insurance, pets are considered personal property. If you are at fault for the accident, your auto insurance will not cover damage to your personal property. That means there will be no coverage for Milo's injury. On the other hand, if another driver is at fault, their own liability insurance should cover damage caused to your personal property. Those damages would include the cost of Milo's injury, since she is considered to be your personal property.
What if your pet chews up your seat covers or causes some other damage to your car? If your auto policy includes comprehensive (also called “other-than-collision”) coverage, you can breathe a sigh of relief because it most likely will cover the cost. But once again, to be certain, you should review your auto insurance provisions with your Trusted Choice agent.
Should you Buy Pet Insurance?
Veterinarian bills can be expensive. The good news is that there's help available. An increasingly popular option, pet insurance can give you the security of knowing that you'll be able to provide good medical care for your furry family member in the event of injury or illness. Unfortunately, there is no standard pet insurance policy. That means it's essential to review the specifics of a policy before you purchase, so you'll know exactly what it will or will not cover. In addition to cost factors like premium, co-pays, deductibles and coverage limits, here are a few things you should consider:
- What records might the insurer request, and do you have access to them?
- Are your pets current with vaccinations, and if not, does that affect your coverage?
- Does your pet have any pre-existing conditions (for example – prior ACL surgery or diabetes)? Many policies will not cover injury or illness stemming from pre-existing conditions.
- Does the policy cover routine vet visits or is it for emergencies only?
- Will your veterinarian accept the insurance directly, or does the policy only offer reimbursement for paid treatment?
Is your Business At Risk?
You want your entire household to be happy and healthy. So does your Trusted Choice agent. It can be emotionally and financially devastating if your beloved pet becomes sick or injured or somehow causes damage or injury. Plan for life's best adventures with Milo and Otis but prepare for the worst: Contact your Trusted Choice independent insurance agent today.