If you’re wondering whether car insurance covers animal damage, the answer is complicated. While it’s impossible to predict every possible car versus animal scenario, there are some insurance trends to be aware of. We’ve waded through the legalese to get the answers for you.
In most cases, insurance does cover animal damage. Whether it’s covered depends on:
- Your policy terms
- The type of coverage you choose
- Coverage amounts
- Deductible costs
- The state you live in
The problem is, every animal versus car scenario is different. Some accidents fall under individual insurance coverage umbrellas, while others don’t. Plus, like any other claim scenario, you must meet your deductible, and the damage can’t exceed the value of your car, or it’s a total loss. Overall, there’s a lot to know about insurance coverage when it comes to animals destroying your vehicle—but we’ve got the answers here.
Does Insurance Cover Hitting An Animal?
Whether insurance covers you hitting an animal depends on the coverage type you have. While most states require a minimum of liability and uninsured motorist coverage to keep your vehicle on the road, other types are optional. There are six kinds of vehicle insurance coverage you can get:
- Bodily Injury Liability
- Medical Payments/Personal Injury Protection
- Property Damage Liability
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
But when it comes to most animal problems, the only types of coverage that genuinely matter are collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage spans everything from crashing into another vehicle to hitting an object in the road.
In most cases, however, collision doesn’t refer to critters. Unless you swerve to avoid an animal and hit another vehicle, you won’t have a collision claim — more on that below.
Comprehensive Coverage for Animal Damage
Comprehensive coverage will cover damage to your car from hitting a deer or other animal. The problem is, most people don’t have comprehensive coverage. Unless your vehicle is financed, you aren’t required by law to have full coverage.
At the same time, comprehensive coverage can be affordable. The Insurance Information Institute says that deductibles range from $100 to $300. Of course, your monthly premiums will be higher with a lower deductible.
Also, depending on your insurance company and policy details, you might have specific coverage for your vehicle’s windshield, for example. That can involve additional deductibles or unique requirements for filing claims.
Does Insurance Cover Car Accidents Caused By Animals?
If there’s evidence that an animal caused an accident, you should be able to get the damage covered by your insurance company. For example, if you swerve to miss a dog but collide with another car instead, that’s a collision claim.
In a collision claim, the insurance of the person who is deemed at fault must pay repair costs. But even if it’s decided that you’re at fault, your insurance company will still pay your expenses—that’s their job, after all.
But let’s say you avoided an animal in the road, and as a result, lost control of your vehicle and rolled it or crashed into an object. That would be a collision claim, too, only there’s no other party to share the blame.
Regardless, this type of coverage ensures you need only pay a deductible to have your car fixed.
Is Rodent Damage To A Car Covered by Auto Insurance?
While it seems a strange problem to have, many drivers are shocked to find out that rodents like to chew on vehicle wiring. But Toyota did face a lawsuit over rodents snacking on their “alleged soy-based content” wiring.
Questionable flavorings aside, critters are known to gnaw on electrical components and other parts of your car, too. Vehicles that sit for a long time are particularly susceptible to this problem. If you live in the country or near open fields, you may also notice small rodents checking out your car.
The good news is, if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, it will probably cover rodent damage. But to ensure your company will payout, you’ll need to have the destruction documented by a repair shop. In some cases, you have to use a shop that your insurance chooses, so check ahead before paying for mechanic services or filing your claim.
Does Insurance Cover Being Hit by An Animal?
If an animal hits you, will your insurance pay? A family visiting Yellowstone National Park accidentally found out the answer when a bison charged their rental car. The damage totaled over $10,000, but fortunately, the family had coverage.
Comprehensive coverage saves the day when it comes to colliding with an animal. Whether it’s a bison, bear, kangaroo, or any other type of animal, if the critter throws the punches, comprehensive coverage can help.
Of course, it is less common to be attacked by an animal while in your vehicle. But if you live near herds of wild bison or another more massive creature, it might be worth investing in additional coverage.
How Much Will Animal Damage Cost Me?
Though many insurance plans and coverage levels will payout after your accident with an animal, the amounts vary. Deductibles can range anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars, and it’s up to you what to select when you sign up for the policy.
When you get in an accident, you must pay the deductible before your policy covers anything over that amount. However, if the accident is another driver’s fault, their insurance typically covers your expenses—starting with the deductible. In a critter versus car accident, though, there won’t be another person to pin the fault on.
If the vehicle is a total loss, you don’t pay the deductible up-front. Instead, your insurance company will issue you a payment for the value of the car that got totaled. They’ll subtract the deductible from the amount, and you’ll get the rest.
Is Hitting An Animal An At-Fault Accident?
Though ultimately, your insurance will pay no matter who is at fault, many drivers worry about their DMV records afterward. The good news is, there’s no DMV record for running over animals. As terrible as you probably feel about it, you won’t get points on your driving record or be required to take a safe driver course for forgiveness.
Will Hitting An Animal Increase My Insurance Rates?
While many factors can affect how costly your insurance rates are, hitting an animal probably isn’t one of them. Consumer Affairs confirmed with Allstate that hitting a deer, for example, shouldn’t affect your rates. Since that’s a no-fault accident, it goes under the comprehensive coverage.
But depending on how your state establishes coverage types and inclusions, results can vary. For example, depending on the accident and where you live, you might be able to file the accident as a collision. In that case, rates can increase because you’ll have a crash on your record that may assign fault.
What Should I Do if I Hit An Animal?
If you collide with an animal while driving, it’s best to steer clear of it afterward. Keep your distance from the critter—it might not be dead—and assess the damage to your car. Drive home if it’s safe to do so, and then take pictures of the damage. You’ll need documentation for your insurance claim, and filing one is the next step.
Then, it’s a matter of waiting for the determination to come through from your agent—and paying the deductible to have repairs made. Hopefully, the claims process goes smoothly, and you receive approval to have your car fixed.
But remember that whether you have comprehensive or collision coverage can affect the outcome of an automobile versus animal accident. Choose your coverage wisely and know what your company covers and what could be a struggle.