We all love a happy ‘dog in the car’ photo – you know – the ones with the lolling tongue and fur blowing in the wind. But owners of these windswept hounds could be breaking the law as well as invalidating their car insurance.

According to the RAC, more than a quarter of dog owners don’t restrain their pet while travelling in the car. But the Highway Code (rule number 57 to be exact) makes it clear that animals in transit need to be contained:

“When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”

So, no more road trips for Rover – unless of course he’s tucked in safe and sound. It might seem distinctly unfun but no one ever said health and safety was filled with laughs and giggles. And when you think about it, it makes total sense to keep your pet buckled up – they are part of the family so you want to keep them safe. And, in an accident, a dog thrown forwards could hit you at up to 60 times its normal weight – that’s a whole lot of hound.

But it’s not just about safety and the wellbeing of your pet pooch or favourite feline. If you have an accident and you’re found to have broken the Highway Code, then your insurance provider doesn’t have to pay out anything at all – leaving you well and truly in the dog house.

Up to 78% of dog owners travel with their canine companions and around 50% of cat owners bring kitty along for the ride; so, it’s fair to say that we’re a nation of animal lovers and can’t bear to be apart from our furry friends.

But even if you’re a conscientious owner, accidents can happen. So, visit our pets hub and find out what kind of pet insurance you need and how to reduce the cost of your premium (because we know pets can be pricey). Be safe, not sorry – invest in those nine lives and comparethemarket.com for pet insurance today – you’d be barking not to.

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