Usually, when you damage your car by hitting something, and file a claim for the damage to your car, your auto insurance rates will be surcharged. Surcharges for at-fault accidents (and single-car accidents are always considered your fault) range from 30% to 40%, but you also may lose good driving discounts, making the new cost of your car insurance very expensive.
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However, there is one circumstance where hitting something accidentally with your car will avoid an increase in your auto insurance premium.
When you hit an animal, other than a human being, you are covered by Comprehensive coverage, if you have Comprehensive coverage on your car, and if the damage to your car is more than your deductible, instead of Collision coverage.
I am not aware of any auto insurance companies charging higher rates for a Comprehensive claim, though having Comprehensive claims on your 3 year or 5 year claims history, may limit the car insurance companies willing to insure you, or qualifying for their lowest rates, if you decide to shop and switch auto insurance companies.
I LOVE Comprehensive coverage, and I like to have it with a low deductible, such as a $100 deductible, even on old cars, if the insurance company allows you to have it.
For example, an auto insurance company may be unwilling to offer coverage for damage to your 1980 Ford F150, unless it is restored, and used only for car shows and parades. But in my experience, many car insurance companies will offer Comprehensive coverage on cars in good condition, regardless of the car’s age.
Comprehensive covers you if you hit a deer or other animal, but it also covers theft, vandalism, flood, fire, etc. Generally, damage to your car, for events other than collision or overturning your car, is covered for the damage above the deductible, up to the actual cash value (basically, the market value) of your car, subject to a few exclusions, like intentional damage or mechanical breakdown.
Comprehensive is usually inexpensive, too. You may pay $200 every 6 months for your Collision coverage, but your Comprehensive coverage may cost only $35 every 6 months.
When you are driving, you not only want to avoid damaging your car, but you also don’t want to harm another living thing for no reason.
However, if your only choice is to either hit a deer or have an accident with your car, such as skidding off the road into a tree or ditch, it is best, for your car insurance rates, to hit the deer.
Many people are seriously injured, or killed, when they strike a deer, elk, or moose with their car, so drive carefully, and be prepared to stop suddenly & safely in areas where you can literally run into these animals.
Have you hit an animal with your car? How did your auto insurance company handle the claim? Please leave a comment on my facebook page. Or, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions and would like my help. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.