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Insurance Coverage for Pets
Matthew Harmes
Matthew Harmes

Is Fido covered if there is a car accident? You might be able to recover damages for injuries suffered by your beloved pet. However, the recovery is not the same as it would be for the dog's owner. For insurance purposes, a pet is treated as a chattel (property). Thus, the pet owner will not be able to make a claim for Fido’s pain and suffering. You would be limited to actual costs of returning Fido to a healthy state or as close as reasonably possible. This would include vet bills but probably not therapy fees. The potential claim is not just for injuries when Fido is in the vehicle but also while walking, just like a pedestrian. However, in either case, the car owner/driver must be found to be partially or fully negligent. What happens if Fido was not in a restraint (seat belt)? Will this reduce the amount of the claim? The law is not clear on this. Frankly, although it does not seem to be common for owners to have their pets in restraints, it makes sense to have one of course. Vets certainly recommend them. What if Bowser was not on a leash and jumped out in front of a car without warning? In this situation, there would likely be no negligence by the driver and hence, no claim. Some "no fault" Provinces have different rules that govern so don't assume it is consistent throughout Canada. What happens if Fido gets out of the yard and runs on the highway causing an accident. There may be coverage under your home owner policy. Regardless, what can you do if you want to make sure there is insurance coverage for your beloved pet if he or she is injured. Contact your insurance broker as there are insurance companies that actually specialize in providing pet insurance.