Our pets are family, but are they protected by our home and auto insurance policies like family?
Pet adoptions from people looking for companionship surged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The adoption rate for dogs and cats increased by 9% in 2020, according to Shelter Animals Count. With people spending more time at home, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to adopt a pet.
Whether you are the fur parent of a “pandemic pet,” a longtime animal lover or a new pet owner, one thing is for sure: Pets bring unconditional love and joy into our lives. It’s our job to do everything we can to protect them, and that includes preparing for the unexpected. Can insurance help?
We spoke with Jodi DeSantis, managing director of insurance sales for AAA Northeast, to get answers to the questions about how your existing insurance policies may protect your furry loved ones. Details may vary by insurance carrier and state, so check with your agent to find out exactly what your insurance does and does not cover.
Are pets covered by home insurance if they get hurt in your home or yard or lost? If not, are there special coverages available that you can add to your policy?
Generally, home insurance will not cover your pet’s injuries or medical conditions. Specialty pet insurance is recommended to cover those types of expenses. On occasion, a home policy may offer reimbursement on a reward for a lost pet, however, this would depend on your specific terms and conditions.
Are you covered if your dog bites someone?
Some home insurance carriers will exclude or decline to insure certain dogs or dog breeds; for example, dogs with higher-than-average bite history or a dog that has bitten previously. If your dog or dog breed is not excluded, a scenario where your dog bites someone is generally covered under your home insurance liability coverage.
Liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries cost homeowners insurers $854 million in 2020, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.
Don’t assume that your home or renters insurance will protect you if your dog bites a person or another animal. Review your policy or contact your insurance company to find out if you own a prohibited breed, and always notify your insurance provider if you get a dog. If you don’t, it opens up the possibility of a liability that could have been avoided with timely notification.
Are pets covered by auto insurance?
Some auto insurance carriers may offer pet injury coverage if your pet is injured during an accident while riding in your car.
Always make sure that you pet is safely restrained in the car. Here’s what you should know about pet car restraint laws in your state.
What if you accidentally hit someone else’s dog or cat and it results in injury or death?
If you are involved in an accident where you are found to be liable for injury to someone else’s pet, those injuries are generally covered under your auto liability insurance.
What if you own an animal other than a dog or a cat? Are there special insurance considerations for pets that could be considered dangerous?
Many insurance carriers will decline to cover an exotic, wild, or dangerous animal. Many of these situations are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
What everyone told you as a kid is true – owning a pet is a big responsibility, but it can be even more rewarding. Consider investing in a specialty pet insurance policy to offset the expense of needed medical care and investigate whether your home and auto policies cover you from other pet-related concerns.
Discuss your insurance needs with a AAA Insurance agent today.