Most people consider their pets to be family members, and when it comes time to take a road trip, they want to bring their furry friends with them. But before you hit the open road with your pet in tow, you should know a few things about how driving with a pet affects your auto insurance.
In most cases, your auto insurance policy will not be affected because you are driving with a pet. However, a few circumstances in which your pet could impact your coverage. For example, if you are involved in an accident, and your pet is injured, your medical payments coverage or personal injury protection may cover the cost of your pet’s treatment. This blog post will explore how driving with a pet can affect your auto insurance policy.
What Is Auto Insurance?
Auto insurance is a policy that provides coverage for drivers if they are involved in an accident. The policy can help pay for damages to the driver’s vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the accident. It can also help cover medical expenses and any other losses incurred due to the accident. Auto insurance is required in most states, and it is essential to have it to protect yourself financially in the event of an accident. There are various auto insurance policies available, so it is essential to understand your options before choosing a policy.
Some common types of auto insurance coverage include:
- Liability coverage: This coverage helps pay for damages to other vehicles or property if you are responsible for the accident.
- Collision coverage: This coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle in a collision.
- Comprehensive coverage: This coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle caused by theft, vandalism, or weather events.
- Medical coverage: This coverage helps pay for medical expenses incurred due to an accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This coverage helps pay for damages if you are hit by a driver who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of the damages.
It is essential to consider what type of coverage is best for you when choosing auto insurance. Ask your insurance company about any specific coverage needs you may have, and compare rates between different companies to find the best deal.
What Does Auto Insurance Cover?
The type of auto insurance you choose will determine the coverage provided. However, most auto insurance policies will cover the following:
- Your vehicle: If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, your auto insurance will help pay for the repairs.
- Other vehicles: If you are responsible for an accident, your auto insurance will help pay for the damages to any other vehicles involved.
- Property damage: If you damage someone else’s property in an accident, your auto insurance will help pay for the damages.
- Medical expenses: If you are injured in an accident, your auto insurance will help pay for your medical expenses.
- Losses incurred as a result of the accident: In addition to the items listed above, your auto insurance policy may also help cover other losses that you incur due to the accident, such as lost wages or the cost of a rental car.
What Are Some Things to Consider when Driving with a Pet?
There are a few things you should keep in mind when driving with a pet to ensure both your safety and the safety of your pet:
- Restrictions: Some states have restrictions on where pets can ride in vehicles. For example, some states do not allow pets to ride in the front seat of a car. Be sure to check the laws in your state before driving with your pet.
- Safety: Pets should be properly restrained while riding in a vehicle. Dogs should be secured with a seat belt or harness, and cats should be kept in a pet carrier. It will help ensure that your pet does not get injured in an accident.
- Ventilation: Pets can become agitated and nervous when riding in a car, making them sick. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the vehicle to keep your pet cool and calm.
- Water: Make sure to bring along plenty of water for your pet to drink, and take breaks often to give your pet a chance to use the restroom.
- Snacks: Bring along some snacks for your pet if they get hungry during the drive.
- First-aid kit: It is always a good idea to have a first-aid kit in the car in case of an emergency. This kit should include items like bandages, gauze, and ointment.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your pet has a safe and comfortable ride in the car.
What Are the Consequences of Crowding the Driver’s Seat?
“No person shall drive a motor vehicle with individuals or property in the front or driver’s seat so placed as to interfere with the proper management or control of the motor vehicle,” says section 162 of the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario.
Drivers who are convicted face three penalty points on their license, an $85 fine, and an additional $25 in expenses, including a victim surcharge and court costs. The penalties may rise to $120, plus expenses if discovered crowding the driver’s seat in a community safety zone, an area designated by the government with signage.
The OPP Central Region issued a $110 traffic penalty and three demerit points to a Caledon, Ont. driver for driving with a poodle-mix on their lap. A woman in Perth was penalized for the same offense a few years ago after driving with a parrot on her shoulder. Although the penalty varies, many jurisdictions have comparable traffic rules. In fact, in Quebec, the law covers bicycles and automobiles.
Is It Necessary to be Concerned about Demerit Points?
A person charged with a traffic offense, such as “crowding the driver’s seat,” will incur demerit points, remaining on their driving record for two years. While demerit points do not affect vehicle insurance premiums directly, accumulating too many might lead to a license suspension, and your auto insurance company may terminate your policy. Any coverage gaps may result in a future rise in your auto insurance premium.
If you have 15 or more points on your driving record, your license will be suspended for 30 days if you are a fully licensed driver. Only nine points are required for a new driver’s license to be suspended.
According to the Ontario government, if you do not relinquish your license, you may lose it for up to two years. While this is the worst-case situation, it emphasizes the need to adhere to traffic laws.
Because pets are considered passengers, it’s better to keep them in the backseat and clear the steering wheel to avoid a fine. Driving with your pet in your lap (or on your shoulder) is dangerous, resulting in a higher motor insurance premium.
How Does Driving with a Pet Affect your Vehicle Insurance Rate?
While having a pet will not raise your car insurance premiums, a traffic violation for “crowding the driver’s seat” may.
You have 15 days to contest a traffic ticket after receiving it. If you don’t, you’ll almost certainly be convicted of the violation, which could raise your auto insurance rate when you renew your policy, depending on the severity of the traffic conviction(s), whether minor, major, severe, or criminal, and the number of citations you’ve previously received. Even slight infractions might result in a 10% rise in premiums, and severe violations can result in a 25% increase in premiums, depending on the insurance carrier.
However, some drivers will not experience a premium hike if they have a single minor conviction. It could be due to the insurance provider being more tolerant or the motorist having minor conviction protection coverage. Any conviction-free discount offered by the insurance provider would be nullified in either case. The rates of repeat offenders frequently increase, which can have long-term effects. Convictions for traffic violations stay on your record for three years; however, if the conviction results in a license suspension, it may stay on your record for longer.
Multiple violations or major convictions may cause a driver to be labeled high-risk, making it difficult to get reasonable auto insurance rates. If your insurance premiums increase due to a conviction, look to see if you can find a better deal.
How to Compare Rates Between Different Companies?
The best way to compare rates is to use an insurance rate comparison website to provide you with quotes from various companies. Ensure to enter the same level of coverage and deductibles for each quote to get an accurate comparison.
You can also call different insurance companies directly and ask for quotes. It is a good option to ask specific questions about the offered coverage.
When getting quotes, be sure to ask about any discounts available to you. Some companies offer discounts like having a clean driving record or taking an approved driving course.
Pets can be a great addition to any family, but they can also come with some additional costs. When it comes to car insurance, you may need to purchase additional coverage if you’re planning on driving with your pet in the car. It is because pets can cause distractions and increase the risk of an accident. We hope this article has helped clear any confusion you may have had about car insurance and pets. If you have any further questions, our team of experts at Insurify is always here to help!