Insurance Company Tells Woman Her Dog is ‘Totaled’

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.
injured dog
Sasha recovers.

A Denver woman says she was shocked when an insurance claims rep offered to total her dog after it was hit by a van. While the term ‘totaled’ is typical industry speak, it’s a term usually reserved for objects – and not accident victims.

Marcia Pinkstaff and her dog were in a crosswalk in Parker when a minivan made a left turn, striking Sasha, a 9-year-old Lab mix. “She didn’t see us and she hit Sasha very, very hard,” Pinkstaff told thedenverchannel.com. “Sasha has tears in her lungs, a tear in her diaphragm and liver damage.”

Alluding to the fact that the cost of repairs would exceed the cost of replacement, Farmer’s insurance (the driver’s insurer) said it would cover a couple of trips to the vet, but that was it: the dog wasn’t worth additional work. “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.”

A spokesman for Farmers’ has since apologized for the unfortunate choice of words. “I’m very sorry about the circumstances,” said Farmers’ Vice President of Media, Jerry Davies. “I have a dog, too.” Farmers has assured Pinkstaff that they’ll work with her to cover future vet expenses for Sasha.

Pinkstaff says she’ll take them up on that offer. “She has to have more blood tests and more x-rays,” Pinkstaff said. “The vet will determine whether her injuries are healing or if she needs surgery. 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.”