Coverage for cats is a growing policy with many auto insurers

Jun 16th, 2009 | By Hot News Reporter | Category: Insurance Today

Earlier this month, CBS 47 TV out of Fresno, Calif., reported on a close call for a County resident when her car was rear ended and forced into a canal full of water west of the city. The CBS 47 coverage of the incident indicated that the woman managed to get out of her car with her cat that was in a carrier and swim to safety.

The accident underscores the fact that not only you are at risk when you are behind the wheel, so is your cherished cat or dog in the car with you. Recognizing the devotion of many pet owners to their companions, several forward thinking auto insurance agencies now are extending coverage to pets, generally only cats and dogs, at no additional cost.
Progressive, the third largest auto insurer in the nation, was the first to offer its pet accident coverage beginning in 2007. The company covers vet costs up to $1000 for a cat or dog if they are injured or ‘worse’ when you are in an accident. The coverage is automatically included in the company’s collision coverage. Progressive indicates the coverage even extends to a cat or dog owned by a relative living with you.

In 2008, Farmers Insurance Group followed suit with pet coverage up to $600 per pet for medical treatment or financial coverage if the pet dies in an accident. According to Farmers, the policyholder must have both collision and liability insurance to be eligible for the coverage

There are of course some limitations to this coverage and it will vary by provider. If the accident is deemed to be your fault, the coverage may not extend to your pet. If the accident was not your fault, the other driver’s insurance may be responsible for paying the vet bills for your pet. Progressive will provide vet bill coverage regardless of who is found at fault.

You’ll want to check with your insurer to find out if it provides such coverage in the event of an accident. California State Automobile Association Auto (CSAA) Insurance, for example, does not provide this coverage, according to a representative in Member Services.

Regardless of which provider you use, keep in mind your cat should always be in a carrier when you are driving to prevent it from roaming in your vehicle and distracting you. The California Department of Motor Vehicles cites a study by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) which indicates that 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some form of driver distraction of which pets loose in a car is included.

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