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Animal-vehicle collisions: Will insurance cover your claim?

If you have even been driving on back roads during deer season or traveled through the woods while taking a scenic drive, you have probably have had to dodge an animal or two.  Unfortunately, sometimes a collision is unavoidable and the animal is large enough to cause significant damage or injury to your car or yourself.  Whether you have experienced a crash or a near miss you probably know how shocking and startling these type of accidents can be. With animal-vehicle collision on an upward swing in the state of Colorado, it is more important than ever to know if you are covered. After the initial shock wears off, you may find yourself wondering who will be responsible for covering the costs of injury and repair.

Does insurance pay for a collision with an animal?

While you most likely know about collision insurance coverage, you may notice an additional option on your policy called comprehensive. Collision covers an accident between your car and another vehicle and comprehensive pretty much covers collision with your vehicle and practically everything else, including the random wildlife that may try to beat you across the road.  

Since collisions with animals are most likely not caused by any fault on your part, your insurance will often cover this type of damage under their comprehensive collision portion of your insurance and they will pay for the damage above and beyond your listed deductible.

Is comprehensive coverage worth the cost?

Many people think of small animals when they think of potential roadkill and often imagine the collision will result in some minor scratches and other less expensive annoyances. The truth is most animal/vehicle collisions occur with larger animals and can result in significant damage. If you have a collision and the cost is less than your deductible, then you can repair the vehicle without filing a claim. But the average loss that occurs due to a crash with a larger animal can range between $2500 and $10,000 depending on the size of the animal and if anyone in the vehicle was injured.  Comprehensive coverage tends to be less expensive than collision and can definitely more than pay for itself if it covers you for one major collision.

It is important to note that many people feel they only need comprehensive coverage if they live or travel in rural or wooded areas, but unfortunately, animal-vehicle collisions can and do occur in suburban and even urban locations.  As the animal population continues to grow and becomes less afraid of humans, they have begun moving into more populated areas looking for food.  It is also becoming more common to find animals running through cities or even crossing highways during rutting and hunting seasons where they can run for miles with a little caution.  So no matter where you live, comprehensive coverage is an integral part of your full insurance coverage.  Check your policy to see if you're covered or inquire with your insurance company on how to obtain comprehensive coverage.

What happens if you are injured after hitting an animal on the road?

Since collisions with animals can often result in severe windshield damage and jolts, injuries can occur.  Whether it is lacerations, whiplash, or a back injury, resulting physical damage from an animal collision can leave you with severe or chronic injuries that can require significant medical costs and even lost wages.  If you have been injured in a collision with an animal, you may be afraid that you are not covered since no one is technically at fault, but if you carry comprehensive coverage your insurance company is responsible for covering injuries to you and your passengers.   Make sure your insurance company covers all the damage to you and your vehicle before you settle with them.

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