Pet Damages: How to Get Your Car Insurance to Cover It
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UPDATED: Apr 29, 2022
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Your car insurance may cover pet damages, depending on the types of coverage you have. If you have a car that is less than three years old, you may also have additional protection against pet damages from the warranty that comes with your vehicle. Looking at the fine print of your warranty or insurance policy can help you find out if your vehicle is covered if you dog, cat, other pets, or even your kids do damage to your vehicle’s interior.
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What is coverage for pet damage?
Pet damage to the interior of your car may include ripped seats, pet teeth and claw damage, and accidents, spills or other stains caused by your dog, cat, or other animal. Exterior pet damage can include scratches, dings, or even dents from pets romping around or even on top of your vehicle.
A policy’s comprehensive coverage may extend to the physical damage of your vehicle’s interior and exterior that was caused by incidents other than a collision, regardless of who or what was at fault for the damage, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s State Corporation Commission’s Bureau of Insurance.
Comprehensive coverage can help cover damage caused by animals and other factors you can’t control. Comprehensive coverage can cover interior damage as well.
If such coverage is not included in a particular auto insurance policy, you can always ask if a rider is available for the specific type of coverage you desire.
Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage that protects your vehicle. If you don’t have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, you will not be covered for most animal-related damages. Car insurance should generally cover you if an animal enters your car and causes havoc. However, if your pet causes damage and creates a large hole in the seat, your car insurance company might not cover the damages.
In addition to damages caused by pets, interior coverage can include damage caused by spills and stains caused by yourself, your children or other passengers as well as rips and tears prompted by sharp objects or items you were hauling or even wearing, such as high heel shoes, cleats or studded jewelry. Exterior damage may come from falling trees, vandalism, blowing debris or a garage door with a faulty sensor that didn’t stop the door before it crashed down on your vehicle.
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What does your vehicle warranty cover?
Your new vehicle’s original warranty can also extend to interior damage caused by pets, people or objects, the Love to Know Cars website points out. Warranties can cover scratches and mars on things like interior door handles and the inside roof of the car if the vehicle has fewer than 30,000 miles on it and is fewer than three years old. Each manufacturer’s warranty has specific variations, and you can find out exactly what is covered either in the fine print or by contacting the manufacturer.
How to protect your vehicle from pet damages?
Several protective measures you can take can help prevent pet damage to your vehicle, helping to ensure you won’t have to file a claim for damages even if they are covered. Tips from Acecars.net point out a number of ways to keep your vehicle in top shape if you frequently travel with your pets.
Going for leather seats, upholstery and other interior features can help minimize odors and stains. Leather is durable against both, less likely to suck up odors and less likely to be permanently discolored by pet accidents or the smell of wet dog. Scratch on leather seat is a possibility, although they can often be repaired by dying the area to match the original leather car seat color.
Keeping your pet contained in a pet-proofed area of the vehicle can help. One example is the back portion of a station wagon or SUV, which you can outfit with rubber floor mat and pet divider that fits behind the seats. This can help keep pet messes, scratching and chewing to a specific area that already have protective features.
Car seat covers can protect other parts of the interior, although some odors and stains may be able to seep through unless they, too, are made of vinyl or leather. Covers for steering wheels, dashboards or other surface can be helpful, but you probably have bigger problems on your hands than pet damages to your vehicle if your dog, cat, or pet rabbit is hopping around on the steering wheel or dash. The type of cover you buy will protect your car seats from anything like dirt, water or accidents.
Getting your pet used to riding in a vehicle with short trips can be beneficial for keeping the pet calm and cool during longer rides. This can help prevent damage caused by nervous or frightened behavior. Pet carriers can be useful for containing your pet in a secure environment as well as protecting your vehicle’s interior.
Regular grooming and bathing is another important factor. Brushing and bathing can keep shedding and odors to a minimum. Nail clipping can keep damage down from lengthy, sharp claws.
Regularly cleaning your car’s interior can also help immensely. Acecars.net recommends a stone pet hair remover as being the most effective tool for removing fur from upholstery and carpet. Routine vacuuming or shampooing the vehicle’s carpet can further help keep pet hair and odors at bay.
It’s never too late to reverse the damages, whether your car or pet simply needs a bath or you need more extensive repairs. Reviewing your auto policy can help you figure out if your existing policy covers pet damage before submitting a claim to your auto insurance provider.
It is also wise to inquire about pet damage coverage when shopping for a new policy so that you can make sure your needs are met. Go here now to use our FREE tool to research auto insurance that covers pet damages by simply entering your ZIP!