Hitting an Animal: Wild vs. Domestic

One thing most drivers dread happening is hitting an animal on the road. Did you know there is different protocol depending on whether you hit a wild animal or a domestic one? Let’s talk about the differences.

Wild Animals

You are more likely to hit a wild animal while driving than a domestic one. Hitting a wild animal can be tricky because no one owns the animal, meaning you need to go through your own auto insurance. Comprehensive coverage is the only type of insurance that covers hitting an animal.

Hitting a wild animal can be dangerous because they tend to be larger than a domestic animal. The most common large wild animal to hit is a deer. This can be dangerous and cause damage to your vehicle, but it can be more dangerous to swerve. You might leave the roadway or hit an oncoming vehicle. The best practice is to lock your brakes and blare your horn. Check out the graph below to see how dangerous swerving to avoid a deer can be.

deer graph english.jpg

If you see a deer crossing sign, or any other animal crossing sign, slow down and remain alert. The most common time to hit a wild animal is at dawn and dusk, and during the animal’s breeding season. If you live in an area with a high percentage of a certain wild animal, check to see when its breeding season is so that you can be more alert.

The only wild animal that it is recommended to swerve to avoid is a moose. This is because a fully grown moose can weigh in more than 1,000 pounds, making a collision with one incredibly damaging.

After a collision with a wild animal, stop and check to see what the damage to your vehicle is. If the damage is severe or you are injured, call the police right away. Also call your insurance company to let them know that you have been in an accident. If you are an Infinity customer, you can simply call 1-800-INFINITY.

Another thing you should do is check on the animal. Do not approach the animal up close! If it is still alive, it could be injured and afraid, making it more dangerous. Determine the animal’s condition, so that you can tell the police whether it needs to be cleared off the road if deceased, or humanely dispatched if severely injured. If the animal has run away, let the police know as well, as they may want to search for it and check its injuries.

Domestic Animals

The two types of domestic animals you might hit are pets and farm animals. Since the animals have an owner, that owner can be charged with negligence and made responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle or for any injuries you or your passengers have sustained.

If you hit an animal that you feel might be someone’s pet, approach the animal slowly and look for a collar and tag. If safe, check the tag for a phone number for the owner, and call them as soon as possible. This will help let the owner know that their pet is deceased or injured, and get the ball rolling with determining if the owner is responsible.

Call the police to let them know about the accident, even if the owner is already on their way. The police report can help determine the owner’s negligence.

A farm animal such as a sheep or cow can cause more damage than a pet such as a dog or a cat. The owner may also be harder to find, as there are not typically collars with tags on farm animals. Call the police, and they should be aware of nearby farms and where to check.

Just like any other animal you hit, the condition of the farm animal will have to be observed and reported to the police.

Like a pet, the farm animal’s owner can be considered negligent and need to pay for your damages.

Comprehensive coverage is the only type of insurance that covers hitting an animal. To look into comprehensive coverage or to find great rates on car insurance, visit our Auto Quote Page.

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