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July 28, 2020

Paying for Car Damage from Hitting an Animal

Paying for Car Damage from Hitting an Animal

Something no driver ever wants to do is to hit an animal that strays into the roadway. This accident could cause a huge mess and damage your vehicle (and others if a chain wreck occurs). Not only that, there’s bound to be a fair amount of heartache if you are an animal lover. No one likes the experience of harming one of our four-legged friends, after all. The good news is that your car insurance can help you out with the damage costs if it comes to that. 


Understanding Collisions With Animals  

If you hit an animal, there was often very little you could have done beforehand to avoid it. Animals have a tendency to run out into traffic with no warning to approaching drivers. Even if you can avoid hitting the animal, the measures you must take might be equally risky. You could lose control of the vehicle, so sometimes, you have no way to miss the creature. 


When you hit an animal, some of the damage that might result might cost you a pretty penny. It might include:  

    • Damage to your hood, fender and headlight systems.  
    • Glass breakage if the animal hits your windshield.  
    • Undercarriage damage by your vehicle passing over the animal.  
    • Damage to your tires and wheels from both the impact and from punctures from bones.  


In worst-case scenarios, an animal might even crash through the windshield and injure someone. These are very scary incidents, but there are resources available.


Car Insurance After Animal Collisions  

When you hit an animal, your priority is to see to your safety first. Pull the car over, and then check for damage. Do not flee the scene and call the police to report the collision. Then, call your car insurer. They can tell your about your policy’s benefits. 

    • If your policy has comprehensive insurance, then your policy will pay for vehicle repairs. Comprehensive coverage is different from collision insurance. It pays for damage related to non-accident hazards like fire, theft or vandalism. In most cases, animal hits fall under comprehensive coverage. 
    • Many auto policies include rental car protection and/or roadside assistance. 
    • If you try to avoid the animal, but hit another vehicle, then your liability insurance might pay for the damage to other drivers’ vehicles.  
    • Policies with medical payments or personal injury protection can help you pay your medical costs if you get hurt.  


Do not try to drag an injured or dead animal out of the roadway. It is often best not to touch a living animal. When you call 9-1-1, tell them that you hit the animal, and that it is still in the road. They can dispatch animal control to tend to the creature. 

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