Will Car Insurance Cover You if You Hit a Deer?

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  • Car insurance provides protection against certain types of losses.
  • In some cases, it offers coverage for people who hit a deer or other animals.
  • Whether car insurance covers an accident with a deer depends on the type of coverage a motorist chooses to buy.

Should drivers be worried about out-of-pocket costs after an accident with an animal?

Cars are expensive, and accidents can do serious damage to vehicles. That's why it is so important to purchase auto insurance that provides protection against common disasters.

However, many drivers aren't sure of exactly what kinds of coverage they need to be protected against losses in specific situations. For example, motorists may not know what kind of insurance they would need in order to get their car repairs paid for in the event they become involved in an accident with a deer.

When does car insurance cover motorists after an animal accident?

The good news is it is possible for car insurance to provide the money to repair or replace a vehicle after an accident occurs with a deer. The bad news is not all drivers will necessarily have the type of protection that would pay for losses in this particular situation.

See, in order for a motorist to qualify for insurance to pay for fixes after an incident with a deer, the driver would need to have comprehensive car insurance coverage. This is a specific type of protection that pays for all damage that the policyholder experiences with his or her own vehicle that is not caused by a collision with another car.

Comprehensive car insurance is the type of coverage that pays for deer-related damages if the driver involved in the crash hits a deer only. If a motorist were to swerve to avoid hitting a deer and crash into another car instead, then the crash would be covered by collision insurance rather than by comprehensive insurance.

Not all drivers have comprehensive coverage

Although it is good news that comprehensive car insurance pays for damages when a driver becomes involved in an accident with a deer, the unfortunate reality is that not every motorist will have comprehensive coverage. And if this protection is not in place before an accident happens, the driver won't have any coverage at all and will need to pay out of pocket for any damage the deer did.

The reason that not all motorists have comprehensive coverage in place is that it's not required by law. While most states require motorists to buy liability insurance, this type of policy pays only for damages the driver causes to others. It provides the driver no protection for their personal vehicle in the event of an accident with an animal or as a result of any other type of loss.

While a driver with a leased car or who has a car loan may be required to buy comprehensive coverage by the lessor or the lender, motorists who own their car outright get the choice of whether or not to buy comprehensive coverage. But if they choose not to do so, they are taking a huge risk of finding themselves with no help after hitting a deer.

Most people can't afford to pay outright for all of the fixes their car may require, so it's important to understand the different kinds of coverage available and make sure the right protection is in place before an accident occurs.

RELATED: See The Ascent's guides to the best cheap car insurance and best car insurance companies.

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