The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture cites as many as 2 million collisions with animals occur each year.
It can be a scary moment when you are driving 70 mph on the freeway and a deer or other wildlife comes out of nowhere and runs right in front of your vehicle. Your first reaction may be to slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid the collision and hurting or even killing the animal. But, what happens if you do make contact with the animal and your car is damaged from it?
Are you covered?
It depends on what auto insurance coverage you have purchased. Comprehensive and collision insurance can provide you with coverage.
Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle when you make contact with an animal while driving.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that if you decided to swerve, missed the deer or animal and strike a tree then you could be covered by collision insurance on your auto policy. Because every insurance carrier is different, their claims department will handle it with the coverage they feel is most fitting to the situation.
Safe Driving Tips To Always Remember
Driving hazards present themselves daily and can occur year-round in every state. Here are three things to always remember when it comes to driving your vehicle and wildlife.
Always stay alert
If you are driving in rural areas, be aware that wildlife is always nearby and keep a lookout towards the sides of the road.
Don’t swerve your vehicle
Swerving cannot only results in a worse injury and more severe accident, but your insurance company might find you at fault if you swerve to miss a deer and end up hitting a tree, another vehicle or guard rail. Regardless, remember to avoid swerving in general. Tightly hold the steering wheel, apply the brakes and stay in your lane.
Be more aware at night
Animals can become more active in the evenings and some travel in groups. If you see one, chances are there are more nearby. If there are two lanes, drive in the lane farthest away from the side of the road.
Tips If You Happen To Hit The Animal
Like any accident, there are a few things to always do immediately.
- Safely pull to the side of the road. Give yourself as much space as possible then turn on your emergency lights.
- Check to see if everyone in your vehicle is okay. Hitting an animal is startling so take a moment to take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves.
- Call the police to report the accident and arrange a tow if necessary.
- For claims purposes, always take photos of the damage to your vehicle and make notes.