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. 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, such as a deer (or any other animal 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’ll tell you what you need to know about this important coverage, how it works, and why you don’t need full coverage to have it, in this blog post.
Deer Collisions, Auto Insurance Rates, & Comprehensive Coverage
Here’s what you need to know about how the optional Comprehensive coverage applies when you hit a deer with your vehicle, and how it influences your auto insurance rates.
Comprehensive coverage for your car or truck
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. With most auto insurance companies, you can carry Comprehensive coverage, without having to have Collision coverage, if you decide the cost of Collision coverage is not worth it, based on your car’s value.
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. Sometimes if you have an old car, or a vehicle in poor physical condition, or a car with a salvage title, an insurance company may not allow you to have Comprehensive coverage on the car. Some auto insurance companies are more strict about allowing Comprehensive coverage in these situations than others.
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.
Hitting a deer or another animal with your car or truck & your auto insurance rates
It is better to avoid any accident in the first place, because many people are seriously injured or killed, when they strike a deer, elk, or moose with their car. Drive carefully, and be prepared to stop suddenly & safely in areas known for literally running into these animals. When you are driving, you not only want to avoid damaging your car, but you also don’t want to harm another living thing.
However, if your only choice is to either hit a deer or have another type of accident injuring you or damaging your car, such as skidding off the road into a tree or ditch, it is best, at least for your car insurance rates, to hit the deer. I am not aware of any auto insurance companies charging higher rates for a Comprehensive claim, but 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.
If you haven’t shopped your auto or home insurance in the last few years with at least 5 other companies, there is a good chance you are paying too much. Has your agent or company ever thoroughly reviewed your coverage, policy limitations, & exclusions? Use the ad below to find the major auto, home, & life insurance companies in your area, review your coverage, and get price quotes. If you don’t think you need to shop with other insurance companies, you need to read my webpage showing you the 8 things every insurance buyer needs to know here.
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. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.