Car insurance firms could refuse to pay out on claims for vehicle damage repairs if they find out a pet was not properly restrained inside a vehicle. The Highway Code states motorists who do not secure a pet before setting off could be breaking dangerous driving laws. Rule 57 of the Code says animals must be restrained while in the vehicle to make sure they do not distract the driver.
They urge to invest in a seat belt harness, pet carrier or dog barriers to make sure the pets are stored safely.
Restraining a pet is not a legal requirement and motorists will only be hit with charges if an animal is deemed to be directly responsible for dangerous or careless driving.
This could be identified by police chiefs through swerving, late braking and reckless steering which could result in officers to pull over your vehicle.
Car insurance companies will also ask who was inside the vehicle at the time of an accident and could place blame on animals if they were not stored effectively.
READ MORE: Car Insurance: Your policy could be invalidated by not checking this
Insurers are unlikely to pay out for damage if they find out an unrestrained pet was in the vehicle.
This is because motorists can say an unrestrained pet may have distracted your attention away from the road.
MoneySuperMarket’s Rachel Wait said: “If you’re in a prang with an unrestrained pet in your car, insurers may use it against you – regardless of whether it was as a direct result of the animal itself – so it’s worth being on the safe side and making sure ‘man’s best friend’ is properly restrained.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says up to 78 percent of car crashes are caused by motorists not paying attention to the roads.
To minimise disruption and the likelihood of restlessness, GoCompare urges motorists to make sure they acclimatise a pet to a vehicle in the days before a journey to calm down an animal before a long trip.
The group also urges road users to invest in cages or carriers for small dogs or cats and placed in the rear passenger seat before setting off.
Owners of larger dogs are encouraged to invest in harnesses or belts as these can be clipped into your car’s seat belt holders to offer protection in the event of an accident.
GoCompare also says dogs should never stick their head out of the window as this could distract attention away from the road.