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Rhode Island Drivers Traveling with Pets in the Car

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Here's what you need to know...
  • Pet owners must take careful steps to make sure any car trip with a pet remains a safe one
  • Proper preparation increases the chances of the trip being a safe one
  • Residents of Rhode Island should ensure they have the right insurance in place to cover a pet-related or other auto accident
  • Check quotes on collision coverage to see if pet vet bills would be paid

People love their pets so much they take them with them many places. Those moving to a new residence or traveling on a long vacation may choose to bring their dog, cat, or other beloved animals with them.

A trip through the great state of Rhode Island can be a blast for the pet owner and pet alike. Unfortunately, pet lovers don’t always do the things they need to do in order to ensure a safe trip with a pet.

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Most Owners Don’t Consider Pet Safety

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Sad to say, a lot of pet owners simply put their furry or feathered friends in a car and do so without very much planning. This can be a disastrous decision since pet safety must be a top concern for any pet lover who chooses to take the pet into a car.

Kurgo conducted a survey revealing that 26% of the dog owners who traveled with the canine admitted to being distracted while driving. The distractions come in numerous forms. Petting, restraining, and feeding a pet are just three of the ways distractions often occur.

Distractions are never a good thing while driving since they can cause a major accident. A failure to properly maintain driver and pet safety while out on the road creates hazards. Being more responsible and safety-conscious is likely to decrease hazards.

7 Tips to Prepare a Pet for Traveling

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A little bit of pre-trip planning and effort towards improved pet safety will be good for everyone. This includes drivers, pets, passengers, other vehicles on the road, and pedestrians.

Following a few basic pet safety steps may be more than enough to reduce dangers while driving and maintaining pet health throughout the trip.

Here is a brief overview of some of the more important steps to take when traveling with a pet:

#1 – Exercise Your Pet Prior to the Trip

An anxious or restless pet can prove to be a big distraction. Pent up energy could lead to a dog or cat running around the interior of the car. He/she might do this at a very inopportune time. A driver needs to pay attention to the road.

An anxious pet can totally take away from that attention. Exercising the pet prior to travel may cut down on a bit of nervous energy.

#2 – Get a Crash-Tested Crate or Harness

No pet should be allowed to run around the interior of a vehicle. Putting the pet in a crate or harness keeps the furry friend under control for his/her safety and the safety of others. Be sure the item purchased is crash tested in order to increase the protection afforded to the four-legged one.

#3 – Avoid Distracted Driving with Pets in the Front Seat

Pets should go in the backseat. Putting a pet in the front passenger seat, even in a crate, increases the potential for distractions. Again, distractions make driving less safe. While a pet may not be too thrilled to be in the backseat — tough. Safety comes first.

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#4 – Never Leave Your Pet Alone in the Car

Is this not one of the most common bits of advice given to pet owners who take their dogs out for a drive? Maybe so, but it continually remains an ignored bit of advice. Sickness or death related to heat, theft of the pet, or the pet getting out of the car all remain potential risks, avoidable risks.

#5 – Bring the Pet in for a Vet check up

A pet might not be as healthy as he/she looks. A road trip could exacerbate health risks. Before any road trips through Rhode Island or elsewhere, take the pet in for a full medical checkup at the vet’s office. Doing so could uncover a serious problem that lays hidden.

#6 – Bring the Essentials

Quite a few things qualify as essentials. Food, water, treats, blankets, leashes, and even medicine all count. Pre-planning the trip allows for knowing what essentials are required for particular pets. Itemize those essentials and don’t forget them!

#7 – Planning Ahead

Planning out a trip in great detail cuts down on the chances of something going awry. Knowing where all the rest stops are and which restaurants and hotels are pet-friendly makes things smoother. Who wants to drive miles and miles trying while on an overnight trip trying to find a hotel that allows pets?

Auto Insurance Laws & Requirements in Rhode Island

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Residents of Rhode Island shouldn’t limit their concern to just their pets while driving. They must also examine the rules and regulations regarding auto insurance in the state. Any mishaps on the road with or without a pet may lead to a call to an auto insurance provider.

– Minimum Coverage Requirements

The state of Rhode Island mandates the following minimum auto liability insurance coverage requirements:

  • $25,000 for the injury or death of a single person
  • $50,000 to pay for the injury or fatality of more than one person. (Per single accident)
  • $25,000 to cover property damage

The listed minimum coverage amounts are very low. Increasing coverage requirements to provide a strong financial safety net would probably be in a driver’s best interest.

Interestingly, Rhode Island requires auto insurance companies to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Such coverage allows an injured driver to file a claim with his/her own auto insurance if an at-fault driver carried no insurance or too little. Drivers do not have to accept this type of coverage, but it may be in their best interest to do so.

The more insurance someone carries, the higher the premiums are going to be. The cost doesn’t have to be enormous. With the right comparison shopping, locating premiums that are affordable and attractive becomes possible. Looking over four rate quotes could reveal some fantastic savings.

– Coverage Specifically for Pets

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As The Fun Times Guide points out, three restrictions may be in place when hoping to use collision coverage to cover pet injuries:

  • Cats and dogs are likely the only pets covered.
  • The accident cannot be the owner’s fault.
  • The driver/pet owner must prove he/she wasn’t at fault.

The acquired insurance policy may even be of great assistance to pet owners. Collision coverage might cover expenses related to injuries inflicted on a pet.

Collision insurance must be purchased as an “extra” to a basic liability policy. When comparing insurance policies, double-check to make sure vet bills would be covered under a particular insurance company’s collision coverage. Not all policies may extend coverage to pets.

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