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Animal Loss or Vet Bill Claims
Your pet is considered personal property, and therefore you are only entitled to Fair Market Value
If you have an animal loss or your pet was injured in an accident, you must know how to deal with insurance adjusters.
Unfortunately, animals are considered personal property. I say unfortunately because personal property is evaluated at fair market value.
This means that if your dog is killed in a car accident, then your insurance adjuster will price out another dog of the same breed, calculate its life expectancy, and then pay you for whatever is left!
An animal loss claim can be very difficult to deal with. For example, Scruffy is a Miniature Schnauzer, and he is 5 years old. A puppy of the same breed can be bought for $750, and his live expectancy is about 15 years. What would the insurance company pay for the animal loss of Scruffy?
Well, Scruff already lived 1/3 of his life expectancy (5 year of the 15 years).
The insurance company will deduct the 1/3 from the total amount that it would cost to buy a dog like Scruffy. So the animal loss or the death of Scruffy will be compensated with $500 (2/3 of $750).
Let’s say that Scruffy was not killed, but he was severely injured and needed a surgery because of the accident. The surgery is about $1,500 dollars because he dislocated his back legs. What would the insurance company do?
THEY WOULD DECLARE THE DOG A TOTAL LOSS. You read it correctly; your animal loss is a total loss.
Scruffy is only worth $750 brand new! $1,500 for an insurance company is way too much. Their infinitive wisdom tells them that the solution is to declare the dog a total loss, put it down and get a new one!
I am sorry for being sarcastic on this subject, but this is what the insurance company will do! They will try to tell you that it is too expensive to “fix” your pet, and that you need to get a new one.
This argument is ludicrous and quite troublesome.
Most of us consider our pets as part of our family, they live with us and we love them. If anything else, we invest a great deal of time training them and caring for them.
Considering the example above, the upbringing of a dog to 5 years old is not particularly cheap, not considering the fact that your pet has training (potty training).
The insurance adjuster will not be concerned with any of that. There is a lot of value in the feelings of your pet, and the time and training spending to raise that specific animal. You should be compensated for both.
Most courts in the United States do not recognize this type of claim, and hence insurance companies just look on the other direction and make no payments for this.
However, there is a shift in some jurisdictions to allow for some compensation for the emotional distress caused because of an animal loss. If you are in this situation, call an attorney and ask if your jurisdiction recognizes pet losses and what kinds of damages can you recover.
If you are dealing with vet bills, then you can pay for the difference (what the insurance paid for the total loss minus the actual bill), and present a lawsuit in small claims court.
This might move the insurance company to pay your damages so you drop the lawsuit. They know that their argument will be very weak in front of a judge or a jury.
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