Car insurance company 'totals' injured dog

John Egan

When a car insurance company declares your car a complete loss, it's "totaled." But can a dog injured by a vehicle be "totaled" as well?

In the case of one Colorado woman, the answer is yes. Marcia Pinkstaff now owns a "totaled" dog.

Pinkstaff told Denver TV station KMGH that her 9-year-old Lab mix, Sasha, was struck by a minivan recently in Parker, Colo., southeast of Denver. Sasha's injuries include damage to her lungs, liver and diaphragm.

A car insurance company has "totaled" Sasha, a 9-year-old dog injured by a minivan in Parker, Colo. Photo credit: KMGH-TV
The driver's car insurance company, Farmers Insurance, said it would pay for one or two trips to the veterinarian for Sasha, then would “total out” Pinkstaff's dog. The company even offered to pay for a "replacement" dog.

“I don’t see how you could total out a family pet,” Pinkstaff told the TV station.

“I was horrified,” Pinkstaff said. “They said they were totaling out my dog. It broke my heart because she is like a child to me.”

Unlike people, dogs are considered property in the eyes of a car insurance company and are covered under the property damage portion of a car insurance policy.

“I’d never heard of anybody totaling out a dog before,” Pinkstaff said. “I think it’s horrible.”

Jerry Davies, a spokesman for Farmers, said “totaling out” is industry jargon referring to property damage.

“I’m very sorry about the circumstances,” Davies told KMGH. “I have a dog, too.”

“We have issued reimbursement of payment for the initial expenses," Davies added, "and will continue to work with her on payment of those bills.”

Pinkstaff said she’s grateful that Sasha survived.

“I would like to see the driver’s insurance company take care of the bills,” she said. “And if the insurance won’t, I would like the driver to take care of it.”

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