Auto Insurance Coverage for Animal Collisions

Hitting an animal while driving, particularly a large one such as a deer, can result in significant damages to your vehicle. Understanding which car insurance coverage can pay for these damages is essential to ensure financial protection in such situations. Although it is a collision between a vehicle and animal, comprehensive coverage may pay for damages to your automobile, in most cases. And this distinction determines the effects of the subsequent claims on your auto insurance renewal premiums.

Comprehensive Coverage: Protection for Animal Collisions

When it comes to damages resulting from hitting an animal, comprehensive coverage is the insurance component that typically covers such incidents. Comprehensive coverage is designed to protect your vehicle against non-collision-related damages, including animal collisions, vandalism, theft, and natural disasters. If you want to be protected from damages resulting from hitting an animal, it is crucial to have Comprehensive coverage included in your auto insurance policy. Without this coverage, you may be responsible for paying for the repairs or replacement of your vehicle out of pocket. Comprehensive coverage normally has a deductible, which is determined when you purchase your insurance policy.

Example: John has vehicle insurance with Comprehensive coverage. One night, while driving on a rural road, he collides with a deer. The impact causes significant damage to his vehicle, including a smashed front bumper, a broken headlight, and a damaged radiator. In this case, John’s comprehensive coverage would typically come into play to cover the repair costs, subject to his deductible. Say the damages were worth $2,000 and his deductible was $500, John would receive $1,500 from insurance for his claim.

Consideration of Comprehensive Claims by Insurers

Comprehensive claims, including those resulting from hitting an animal, are typically viewed differently by insurers compared to collision claims. Comprehensive claims are often considered “not at fault” incidents and are less likely to impact your future premiums significantly.

Example: Lisa’s vehicle sustains damage when she collides with a deer. She files a comprehensive claim and receives a payout from her insurance company for the repair costs. As a result of this comprehensive claim, her premiums may see a minor increase at renewal. However, the impact is generally less significant compared to collision claims.

Collision vs. Comprehensive Claims: Differences and Impact on Premiums

Collision and comprehensive claims are treated differently by insurers, and their impact on premiums can vary. Collision claims typically result from accidents involving other vehicles or objects, while comprehensive claims cover non-collision-related incidents.

Collision claims generally have a higher impact on premiums than comprehensive claims. This is because collision claims are considered “at fault” incidents, indicating a higher risk of future accidents. In contrast, comprehensive claims are often viewed as random events beyond the driver’s control. And Collision deductibles may be higher than comprehensive deductibles.

Classification of Animal Collisions: Collision or Comprehensive Claim

Determining whether an animal collision is considered a collision claim or a comprehensive claim depends on the circumstances of the incident. As a general rule, animal collisions fall under comprehensive coverage of your automobile insurance policy. However, there must be contact with the animal first for it to be considered a comprehensive claim. On the other hand, if you swerve to avoid hitting an animal and end up hitting another vehicle or object or ending up in a ditch on the side of the road, it is a collision claim. Nevertheless, Collision and Comprehensive coverage are typically sold together so you would have coverage in either case. But a claim’s effect on your car insurance premiums may be significantly different depending on how a claim is classified.

Steps to Take and Safety Precautions

After hitting a deer or any other large animal on the road, it’s crucial to prioritize safety by following specific steps and precautions. The first step is to pull over to a safe location, if possible, to prevent traffic obstruction and further accidents. Next, contact the local police or wildlife agency to report the incident, as they can assist with animal removal and offer guidance. Also, check if there are any injuries to you or your passengers and seek medical attention promptly. It’s important to document the incident by taking pictures of the damages caused by the collision and noting relevant details like the location, time, and date. Additionally, contact your insurance company to inform them about the incident, provide necessary information, and initiate the claims process.

Wildlife Collisions and Road Safety

Road safety and awareness play a crucial role in mitigating wildlife collisions, making it imperative to understand the significance of taking precautions. Drivers should exercise caution, particularly in areas recognized for wildlife crossings, especially during peak activity times like dawn and dusk. Maintaining a safe speed, staying alert, and using high beams when necessary to spot animals on the road are essential practices to adopt.

Laws Related to Hitting Wildlife

Laws regarding hitting wildlife can vary by state. It is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations in your area to ensure compliance. In some states, it is illegal to remove wildlife carcasses from the road, while in others, you may be allowed to claim the animal for consumption.