Car insurance can cover damage to your vehicle from hitting an animal, but it depends on the type of coverage you have in your policy. Comprehensive coverage is typically the component that provides protection against damages resulting from animal collisions.
Comprehensive coverage covers non-collision related incidents, including hitting animals like deer, elk, or other wildlife.
What to do after the incident
If you hit an animal while driving, follow these steps:
- Ensure your safety: Safely pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If the animal is injured and poses a risk to others, contact local authorities or animal control.
- Take pictures of the damage: Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and any visible signs of the animal involved. This documentation will support your insurance claim.
- Contact your insurer: Contact your insurance provider and report the incident. They will guide you through the claims process and provide you with the necessary forms.
Impact on insurance rates
Comprehensive claims for hitting an animal are typically considered “not-at-fault” incidents and may not significantly impact your insurance rates. But it may be a good idea to reach out to your insurance agent to know how a comprehensive claim affects your car insurance rates.
Tips to avoid animal collisions
While it may not always be possible to avoid hitting an animal, you can take precautions to reduce the risk:
- Be alert and observant: Pay attention to road signs indicating high-risk animal crossing areas and adjust your speed accordingly.
- Use high beams when appropriate: When driving in rural or wooded areas at night, use high beams to improve your visibility and spot animals from a greater distance.
- Do not swerve excessively: If an animal suddenly appears in your path, prioritize your safety and that of other drivers. Avoid excessive swerving that could lead to a more severe accident.
By following these tips and practicing defensive driving, you can reduce the risk of animal collisions and keep yourself and your vehicle safe.