What to Do If You Hit An Animal With Your Vehicle

Be on the lookout for animals when drivingIt’s every driver’s worst nightmare to be in an auto accident, particularly an accident that involves an animal. However, hitting an animal is a very common cause of an accident and, of course, an insurance claim. Let’s take a look at what to do.

What to do if you hit an animal

If you hit an animal, you’ll want to take pretty much all of the same steps that you would in any other car collision. These include taking photos of the accident before you move your vehicle, including of the hurt/dead animal. You also will want to get information from other drivers that stop if they witness the accident in case you need to prove that you’ve hit an animal, later.

The next thing to do after you do that is to pull your vehicle off the road. If the animal is dead, you’ll want to put on some gloves (or use a blanket) and move it off of the road. If it is injured (or you are injured), call the proper authorities.

Filing a claim means that you will have to have comprehensive coverage as part of your auto insurance. This is what typically covers an animal strike.

Does the type of animal count?

This is a great question! There is a difference between a wild animal and a domestic animal, actually. If you hit a domestic animal (regardless of what animal it actually is), it’s considered the animal owner’s responsibility since they’re negligent in taking care of their animal.

If you hit a wild animal, that negligence is yours as the driver of the vehicle since there is no owner of this wild animal. That means that your insurance policy should be the one to cover it.

Should I deliberately hit or avoid an animal?

This is a common question and a good one to understand properly so that you will know what to do if you ever find yourself in that situation.

Obviously you don’t WANT to hit the animal, so you should make the effort to try to avoid hitting an animal. You can do this by braking hard and honking your horn, flashing your lights, etc. This will help startle the animal out of your pathway.

However, don’t swerve your vehicle to miss an animal. This is what most do instinctively. According to the law (which includes insurance in this case), it’s better to hit an animal than swerve, lose control of your car, and hit another vehicle, go into oncoming traffic, land in a ditch or completely off the road to gosh knows what.  So, as you can see, serving could end up in much worse.

How do I know if I’m protected?

Whether you hit a dog or a moose, the damage to your car can be costly. You’ll want to make sure that you have coverage by calling your agent to discuss your coverage and what it means. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when looking specifically at that!

Hitting an animal on the road is a nightmare for all of us, and with good reason. But knowing that you’re protected from the cost of the repair as well as any kind of injury to yourself (or others) is very reassuring to the mind and pocketbook.  This is something you want to do sooner than later, like not right after you hit a deer, but be sure you know your coverage. So, contact Paula Smith Insurance at (281) 488-8880 and ensure you and your vehicle are properly covered for whatever you may need.

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