What to do if you have an animal collision

We devote a lot of thought to car crashes, but what would you do if you had an animal collision?

With November upon us, some animals are becoming more active. This puts drivers at greater risk as animals wander onto the roads. Driving in the fall, particularly through rural areas, we must be extra mindful of this risk.

Lower your risk of an animal collision

There is much you can do to reduce your odds of hitting an animal. Here are a few tips:

1. Try to avoid driving at dawn or dusk because this is time of day when many animals are most active.
2. Get rid of distractions while you’re driving and stick to the speed limit.
3. Use your high beams at night, especially in rural areas.
4. Be present and aware: scan the road edges and shoulder areas for animals. Remember that if you see one animal, there may be more ahead.
5. Do not swerve. Swerving to avoid an animal is even more dangerous because you may hit a tree or oncoming traffic.

What to do if you hit an animal on the road

Animals can be unpredictable and may run onto the road. You may not have enough time to stop without hitting one. If this happens to you, follow these steps to manage the situation:

1. Pull over safely.
2. Do not get too close to the animal if it is still alive. It’s best to let the relevant authorities and trained personnel handle the animal.
3. Check for and document any damage to your car.
4. File a report with the police and contact your insurance provider as soon as possible.

Give your insurer your policy number, and the make, model, year and license plate of your vehicle. You will also need the location of the accident and determine whether you will need to tow your car.

Understand your coverage

Even though we may not always avoid accidents, you can mitigate their impact by preparing well. This means having an insurance policy that has the right kind of coverage for the risks you’re likely to face.

When it comes to hitting an animal, you must distinguish between collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance will cover you if you hit an animal already lying on the road. But you will need comprehensive coverage if one jumps out at you.

Nevertheless, this is only a general guideline and you should check your exact policy wordings and exclusions with your broker. Give us a call to chat about how we can help you manage the risks in your life.