Most car insurance policies will include a disclaimer about careless driving – and that include a long list of things:
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Reading maps behind the wheel
- Brushing your hair or putting on make up
- Texting or phoning without a hands-free system
And last but by no means least, dealing with a loose animal in the car.
If stroking or grabbing your dog in the car leads to an accident, at best the insurance company is likely to reduce any pay out and at worst, void the claim completely.
If you have hit another car or knocked someone down as a result, you could end up paying thousands in damages out of your own pocket.
The Highway Code is your undoing – because every driver should be aware of the code and breaking the rules is generally considered an offence of careless driving.
Rule 57 confirms drivers – not passengers – are responsible for controlling animals in their cars and that they should be ‘suitably restrained’ so they cannot distract you or cause damage or injury if you stop suddenly.
Most insurers will insist a pet is carried in a dedicated container that is fastened securely.
Sleeping on a blanket across the back seat is not suitable restraint.
If the animal should be killed in the car during an accident, then the insurer will treat your pet as personal property and recompense you at ‘market value’.
Animal injuries are settled in much the same way as personal injury claims from passengers – the insurer will pay reasonable vet bills, but not much more.
The lesson is drivers should try and be their pet’s best friend by making sure they ride safely in the vehicle at all times – or risk voiding their car insurance.
find out more about how your driving with your dog could invalidate your insurance