Jan 16, 2024

Insurance for Animal Transportation and Relocation

Category: Animal Welfare

Animal welfare organizations provide safe homes for vulnerable pets, farm animals, and wildlife. However, animals sometimes need to be transported to other locations, either for the animal’s health and safety or for participation in community activities. Insurance coverage for animal transportation and relocation offers protection against potential financial losses.

Scenarios Requiring Animal Transportation

Some animal welfare organizations transport animals from one location to another on a regular basis. Others only transport animals in special circumstances. The following are some examples of scenarios when it may be necessary to transport an animal:

  • A natural disaster (such as a wildfire or hurricane) threatens the shelter or sanctuary. The animals need transport to a safer location immediately.
  • An animal requires specialized medical care. It is necessary to move the animal to a veterinary clinic with the required equipment.
  • An animal rescue group brings animals to a hospital, a nursing home, or another location to provide enrichment to the people staying there.
  • A shelter brings animals available for adoption to an event to raise awareness and encourage people to adopt rather than buy.
  • An animal sanctuary brings an animal to a school or special event to help raise awareness for animals and encourage people to protect wildlife.
  • As the result of property damage, an animal organization cannot provide appropriate care for certain animals. It needs to relocate these animals to another organization.
  • A rescued animal has recovered and is ready for release back into the wild.

Exposures Involved in Animal Transportation

Traveling can be stressful for animals, which can lead to heightened risks. Plus, the nature of travel means exposing the animals to road-related hazards. For these reasons, relocations can be some of the riskiest times for animal welfare groups.

Consider the following risk scenarios:

  • An animal becomes agitated during transportation and bites a volunteer. The bite is severe and requires medical attention.
  • A collision occurs during transportation. The driver of the other vehicle claims a severe back injury in addition to property damage, so the animal welfare organization is now facing a lawsuit.
  • An animal is injured during transportation and requires urgent veterinary care.

Relocation Incidents Pose a Real Risk

Safe drivers and proper precautions can reduce the chance of transportation-related claims. Nevertheless, incidents during animal transportation are unfortunately common. For example, KRIS 6 News reported that a van transporting 24 dogs and 23 cats as well as two animal rescue volunteers was hit by a tractor-trailer in Texas in 2022, wrecking the vehicle, hospitalizing the two volunteers, and killing two of the animals.

Since animal welfare organizations are dedicated to protecting the animals in their care, any event that threatens the animals’ well-being can be devastating. To make matters worse, transportation incidents can result in massive costs related to medical care, property damage, and liability. As many nonprofit animal welfare organizations operate on tight budgets, they may have limited funds to deal with these unexpected costs.

Insurance provides critical financial protection, sheltering organizations from costly damages and them to continue focusing on the animals in their care. In light of the many exposures related to relocation and transportation, animal welfare organizations should review their policies for the following:

  • Transportation-related incidents. Commercial property and general liability insurance policies may exclude claims involving vehicles.
  • Types of claims covered. Relocation incidents could result in injury to people or animals and property damage as well as third-party liability claims.
  • Coverage for volunteers. Many nonprofit organizations rely on the work of dedicated volunteers. If these volunteers are injured in the course of their duties, the organization may face liability. Therefore, it’s important to have coverage for volunteers in place.
  • Liability limits. If liability limits are insufficient, consider umbrella insurance for additional coverage.

Tangram provides insurance packages designed to meet the unique needs of animal welfare organizations like animal shelters, sanctuaries, rescues, and rehabilitation centers. We offer coverage for all types of animals – pets, farm animals, exotic animals, and marine animals. Our packages can include insurance for animal relocation as well as commercial auto insurance, volunteer accidental medical insurance, veterinary services insurance, and other coverage types for protection during relocations. Learn more.