woman with little dog sitting in her lapMany pet owners consider their pets to be a part of the family. Not only do you often see pets in family photos, but owners also bring their pets to restaurants and many other places.

Unfortunately, this may increase the risk of a pet being injured in a car crash. If this happens, owners may wonder whether they can include bills from the veterinarian or animal hospital in the claim.

Learn more about this issue below, and if you have questions about filing a claim after a car crash, give Lorenz & Lorenz a call to schedule a free consultation. Our Austin auto accident lawyers are ready to assist you.

Pets are Considered Personal Property

Even though dogs, cats and other pets are often considered part of the family, under the law they may be considered personal property. This is important as you consider seeking compensation for your pet’s medical expenses.

Crash victims often pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Under Texas law, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 in property damage coverage. While this coverage is almost always used to pay for damage to the victim’s vehicle, it may also be used to cover damage to other personal property, such as pets. It is important to note, the other driver’s property damage coverage only applies if the other driver is at fault for the crash.

However, every insurance policy is different, so you or your attorney must review the terms of the policy to see what may or may not be covered. Insurance policies often exclude coverage for damages to exotic pets, like birds, snakes or reptiles. Typically, car insurance policies only cover damage to dogs or cats.

In addition, insurance policies may limit coverage for pet injuries. For example, you may be limited to $500 in coverage.

Unfortunately, Texas auto insurance policies do not provide compensation for the policyholder’s personal property damage, except for damage to his or her car. This is known as collision coverage, and it is optional.

Pet Insurance

If you bring your dog or other pet with you on a regular basis, or you are looking for a way to reduce out-of-pocket costs for your pet, you may want to consider buying pet insurance. These policies may provide coverage for accidents, illnesses, emergency care, chronic medical conditions, cancer treatment, and more.

After a crash that caused injuries to your pet, your pet insurance may cover expenses that exceed the value of the at-fault driver’s property damage coverage.

While pet insurance may be a solid investment no matter where you live, it may be especially important in Texas. Dogs, cats and other pets run the risk of being injured because of a variety of factors:

  • Snakes (copperheads, coral snakes, rattlesnakes and water moccasins)
  • Coyotes
  • Kissing bugs
  • Spiders
  • Hot temperatures

Keeping Your Pet Safe in the Car

While it is impossible to prevent drivers from behaving recklessly, there are steps you can take to help lower the risk of a crash and protect your pet if a crash happens.

For example, there are special harnesses that can be attached to seat belts, allow you to strap your dog into the seat. It is important to remember pets can easily be thrown around by minor collisions, and this could result in severe injury.

You can also put your pet into a crate, and it may be possible to strap the crate to a seat belt to help prevent the crate from moving around.

Allowing your pet to move around your car freely could be a recipe for disaster.

It is also important to take steps to avoid being distracted by your pet. If you are traveling with another person, have that person keep the pet entertained. Bring toys or food to help keep the pet busy. Many crashes happen because drivers are distracted by their pets.

Lorenz & Lorenz is Here to Help. Call Today

Victims of car crashes should strongly consider seeking help from a licensed attorney. You cannot rely on the insurance company to provide the compensation you need.

Lorenz & Lorenz has a proven track record of helping crash victims secure compensation. We have been helping auto accident victims like you for more than 20 years.

The initial consultation is free and there are no fees while we work on your case.

Learn more by calling 800-835-5833.