Anyone who has tried to sell insurance to a pet owner will know just how much the majority of Brits care for their animals – they are very much part of the family. However, despite this undeniable level of love it appears that many are careless when it comes to travelling with their pets.
According to research by Direct Line Pet Insurance, pet owners are not correctly securing their pets when they are on the move. It has found that 22% of vets have seen dogs die as a result of injuries sustained while travelling in a car without the correct restraint. However, a worrying 28% of owners never actually restrain their pets when they are in the car.
If you’re speaking to your clients about pet insurance then the advice is to encourage them to avoid claims by taking greater care when travelling. The safest methods for a dog, as recommended by vets, are a special dog seatbelt and harness, 53%; a crate/cage, 31%; and a barrier between the boot and back seat, 13%. For those with smaller animals, vets recommend a carrier, 67%; or a secure basket, 31%.
However, the vets surveyed noted that they have seen a host of dangerous restraints on animals – including simply holding an animal in a lap; putting it in a cardboard box; or letting it roam free without restraint. Some even put a chain or rope around the animal’s neck.
“Some owners trust their animals to roam free around the car,” said Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line. “However, even the most well behaved animal can become easily spooked or excited, which could distract you from the road, putting both you and your pet in danger. It’s important to adhere to the Highway Code to make sure you, your passengers and your pet is safe.”
Restraints on pets are important from the perspective of car insurance too – rule 57 of the Highway Code stipulates that owners must make sure dogs or animals are suitably restrained when in a vehicle to reduce distraction.
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