Traveling with your pet can be a fun way to spend time with him or her while going to the park, dog beach, or pet store. It may also be necessary to bring your pet to veterinarian appointments or the groomer. If you get into an accident while traveling with your pet, however, he or she could suffer serious injuries. Pets are often at a high level of risk in auto accidents due to a lack of seat belts and safety harnesses. The answer to whether or not insurance will cover your dog during an auto accident claim in Texas is that it depends.
Pets Are Personal Property
The at-fault party in a collision will be financially responsible for your damages under Texas’ fault-based car insurance laws. After a collision involving injuries to your pet, file your claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. During the claims process, when listing the total value of your property damages, include all the medical costs associated with treating your injured pet. Under Texas law, pets are technically personal property. This means the at-fault party will be responsible for damages affecting your pet as he or she would be with other types of property damage after an auto accident.
The required minimum auto insurance for every driver in Texas are at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $60,000 in bodily injury per accident and $25,000 in property damage coverage. The $25,000 in coverage every driver must purchase will be the insurance that covers your pet’s veterinary bills for accident-related injuries. The other person’s insurance will only cover your pet’s damages, however, if that driver caused your car accident.
If you were at fault for the collision (e.g. your dog distracted you or obscured your vision, causing a crash), you may not receive insurance coverage to treat your pet’s injuries. You would only receive insurance coverage in this case if you had collision or comprehensive coverage – optional types of insurance in Texas that pay for your property repairs and medical bills after an accident, regardless of fault. If you do have this insurance, your provider should cover your pet’s treatments up to the policy’s limit.
Pet Insurance vs. Auto Insurance
Pet insurance is a special type of insurance you can purchase to help you pay for veterinary bills when your pet requires medical treatment. It is entirely separate from your auto insurance policy. While most auto insurers will cover injuries to pets in your vehicle during auto accident claims, they do not sell pet insurance specifically. You must purchase a separate pet insurance policy through a different provider instead. Pet insurance can help you pay for vet bills after an injury or illness, including after an auto accident.
What If Your Pet Dies?
Unfortunately, you might not be eligible for any property damage coverage for the death of your pet in an auto accident. It is more difficult for an insurance company to define an appropriate amount of compensation for something intangible, such as a pet’s death, compared to tangible damages like veterinary bills. You may, however, be able to demand compensation for your emotional distress over your pet’s passing. The at-fault driver’s insurer may offer an award to make up for your emotional distress to avoid going to court.
If the insurer does not offer a suitable settlement for your pet’s death, speak to a lawyer about filing a lawsuit. An auto accident lawsuit in Texas could result in payment for your medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs, veterinary bills, and/or emotional pain and suffering. Your lawyer can argue for pain and suffering compensation for the death of your beloved pet. The amount you could receive depends on your relationship with the pet, as well as the pet’s age, breed, and health. A San Antonio car accident lawyer can help you with your pet-related auto accident claim in Texas.