Depending on what kind of policy you have, you usually need comprehensive auto coverage to protect you from accidents with animals & animal attacks, as EINSURANCE explains.
Auto Coverage Claims for Animal Accidents May Come Up Short Without Comprehensive
You’re driving along a scenic two-lane road through a forest when a large brown animal appears in front of you. You can’t avoid a catastrophic collision, and your car is virtually totaled. Will your basic liability insurance cover the damage?
You’ve parked your car in its usual place on your quiet residential street when a neighborhood skunk leaves nature’s own calling card all over your tires. The odor is so bad, it permeates your car’s interior and won’t go away. After the neighbors stop snickering, what will your insurance agent say?
Friday morning traffic is insane and you’re already late for work. Suddenly, you get sideswiped by another car swerving to avoid a stray dog in the road. You slam the brakes but can’t avoid the car behind you. Are you covered for this?
Your car insurance should protect you from likely risks like accidents with other vehicles. But when cars meet animals, you can’t avoid chaos. Still, insurance will cover the damages—if you have the right policy.
Auto Coverage Rates, Like Wildlife, Vary Wildly State by State
Traffic is the biggest threat to animals in the USA. Millions of animals are killed each year on city streets, suburban parkways, country roads, and interstate highways. Everything from squirrels and chipmunks to elk, moose, bear, and deer—a lot of deer—have devastating encounters with moving vehicles.
If you live in Montana and a dozen other states from Georgia to Colorado, you can take your roadkill home and filet it for barbeque. But what about the damage? A collision with a large deer at high speed can total a smaller car and cause serious injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board estimates the average damage in animal collisions is over $3,000 per claim.
You need comprehensive to cover this claim. If your policy only covers your liability, you’ll have to pay for a new front end. On the other hand, if you swerve to miss the deer but hit another vehicle in the process, you need collision coverage.
What are your chances of hitting a deer, anyway? Of course the insurance industry has studied this problem, which is common in most parts of the country as a lack of natural predators means deer populations have swelled. Your chances of hitting a deer or other animal increases as each condition appears:
No big trucks around—drivers are less alert and truck noise keeps animals away.
- A narrow road—the fewer number of lanes means less time to react.
- A speed limit above 50 mph.
Luckily, most insurers won’t raise your rates if you have an unexpected encounter with nature on the highway. However, if these types of claims happen too often, you might have to find another insurer. Some companies will drop drivers who make too many claims, even if those claims are legitimate.
Auto Coverage for Roadkill Is One Thing, But What About That Skunky Aroma That’s Invaded Your Car’s Interior?
Insurance helps regulate and control the routine road risks we take for granted. Most states have minimum auto insurance laws to spread that risk. So ideally, if everyone in that Friday morning incident has basic liability insurance, the other guy’s policy will cover your damage, and your policy will cover his. In No-Fault states, everyone’s policy covers their own damage.
As many drivers find out for themselves, insurance will only cover what you pay for. Having comprehensive auto coverage will protect you from almost everything—from totaling your car in an encounter with a deer to paying for the damage to other cars your encounter with chaos may have caused. Unfortunately, and this may smell pretty rotten, cleaning up that skunky aroma from your car probably isn’t covered.