Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer or Large Animal?

Imagine driving on a scenic road when suddenly, a deer crosses your path. Despite your quick reflexes, the collision is unavoidable. In the aftermath, you’re left with a damaged vehicle and a pressing question: Is this covered by your car insurance?

This scenario, while unexpected and distressing, is not uncommon. Roads that pass through natural habitats often witness such incidents, leaving drivers like you to deal with the aftermath. Fortunately, certain types of insurance coverage could help. Speak to a Charleston, SC car accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the details of your specific situation.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage May Cover Animal-Related Damage

When your vehicle collides with a deer or another large animal, the damage can be significant. Fortunately, if your auto policy includes comprehensive coverage, you’re likely covered for these incidents. This coverage is designed to pay for unpredictable events beyond your control, such as animal collisions. Whether a deer darts into your vehicle or you inadvertently hit an animal, comprehensive coverage typically steps in to cover the damage to your vehicle.

However, there’s an important distinction to note. If in trying to avoid an animal, you end up hitting another vehicle or an object, or overturn your car, you may not be eligible for comprehensive coverage, but collision coverage could pay for the damage. It’s common for policies that include comprehensive coverage to also feature collision coverage, but it’s crucial to verify this with your insurer.

MedPay or Personal Injury Protection Could Pay for Injuries in the Crash

Comprehensive and collision coverages do not cover medical expenses. This is where Medical Payments coverage (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) becomes vital. These insurance policies can help with medical bills resulting from a collision with an animal.

The medical coverage provided by your auto insurance may not cover all your medical bills. In these situations, your health insurance can bridge the gap, helping you avoid significant out-of-pocket expenses.

What to Do If You Hit a Deer or Large Animal

In the unfortunate event of hitting a deer or large animal, your safety and the safety of others should be your priority. Here’s what to do in these situations:

  • Safely Move Your Vehicle: If possible, move your car to the side of the road to prevent further accidents or obstructions. Turning on your hazard lights is crucial to alert other drivers.
  • Call the Police: Once you’re in a safe spot, contact the police immediately. Inform them about the accident, especially if the animal is blocking traffic or posing a danger to other motorists. The police can also help in documenting the incident for your insurance claim.
  • Avoid Contact with the Animal: Injured animals can be unpredictable and dangerous. For your safety, avoid approaching or touching the animal. Wait for the authorities to arrive, as they are equipped to handle such situations.
  • Document the Incident: When it’s safe, start documenting the accident scene. Take comprehensive photos of your surroundings, the road conditions, your vehicle’s damages, and any injuries sustained. If there are witnesses, like other motorists who stop to help, take their statements and contact information.
  • Inspect Your Vehicle for Safety: Before deciding to drive again, thoroughly check your vehicle for any damages that could compromise its safety. Look for leaking fluids, broken lights, or a hood that isn’t securely latched.

Remember, filing a car insurance claim can be complex, but you don’t have to do it alone. Contact a Charleston personal injury attorney to learn about your legal options and fight for the compensation that you deserve.