Does auto insurance cover hitting a dog?

Most drivers want to know, how does auto insurance cover hitting a dog? If drivers have comprehensive insurance, damage to their car from animal collisions will be covered. Comprehensive insurance costs an average of $138.87/yr or $11.57/ mo. With 1 to 2 million animal collisions occurring every year, comprehensive coverage is well worth it.

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Sara Routhier, Director of Outreach and Managing Editor of Features, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overw...

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Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Mar 30, 2021

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Auto Insurance and Animal Collisions Summary
Auto Insurance and Animal Collisions FactsDetails Source
Average Countrywide Cost of Comprehensive Insurance $138.87NAIC
Estimated Reported Animal Collisions per Year1 to 2 million U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Animal Vehicle Collisions Resulting in Human Injury4.6%U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
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Do you know what to do if you hit a dog while driving? Does auto insurance even cover animal damage? If there is damage to your car, one of the first things you probably worry about is does auto insurance cover hitting a dog.

While comprehensive insurance does cover hitting a dog, it is important that you know what coverage you need to have for animal accidents, animal cruelty laws, and what to do after injuring or killing a dog. This way, you won’t be stressed out trying to figure out if you hit a dog with a car who pays for repairs.

Will my car insurance cover hitting a dog? To find better auto insurance rates after you hit a dog with a car, use our free rate comparison tool above.

Comprehensive Insurance and Animal Damage

So will my auto insurance cover hitting a dog? Only if you have the right auto insurance for animal collisions. What type of auto insurance covers animal damage? The answer is comprehensive insurance.

Take a look at this short video for more about comprehensive auto insurance coverage.

Comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage, but it is highly recommended by insurers. Why? It covers a wide range of accidents and situations, including:

  • Animal collisions
  • Natural disasters
  • Weather damage
  • Vandalism
  • Theft

If you hit a dog or hit a deer with a car, it will be covered under comprehensive coverage. However, sometimes the insurer will seek out the dog’s owner to pay for damages. Why?

Essentially, the insurer sees the dog’s owner at fault, because the dog should have never been out on the road. If the owner can’t be found, then the claim will be covered under your comprehensive policy.

Blame can be tricky to assign, though, especially if you hit the dog due to negligent driving or the owner had the dog off-leash. According to LegalMatch, if the owners are partially responsible, they also can’t sue the driver for damages to their animal.

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How much does comprehensive insurance cost?

Since comprehensive coverage is the best insurance to have to repair damage to a car after hitting an animal, you are probably curious how much it costs to add to your policy. Take a look at the table below to see how much comprehensive coverage costs by state.

Average Annual Comprehensive Auto Insurance Coverage Rates by State
StatesAverage Annual
Comprehensive Rates
Oregon$89.66
Maine$96.66
California$99.29
Hawaii$100.09
New Hampshire$103.03
Washington$104.11
Utah$106.57
Florida$110.12
Idaho$110.78
Ohio$112.74
Delaware$113.23
Indiana$115.02
Nevada$116.79
Illinois$117.98
Vermont$118.31
Rhode Island$122.17
North Carolina$123.00
New Jersey$123.18
Connecticut$126.02
Wisconsin$126.34
Massachusetts$128.92
Virginia$129.89
Kentucky$130.15
Pennsylvania$132.01
Tennessee$135.62
Alaska$141.08
Alabama$146.28
Maryland$146.77
Michigan$147.02
Georgia$153.61
New York$156.66
Colorado$158.34
South Carolina$165.38
Missouri$166.34
New Mexico$166.89
Iowa$171.58
Minnesota$173.04
Arkansas$183.36
Arizona$184.20
Texas$186.70
Mississippi$194.74
West Virginia$195.04
Montana$199.87
Oklahoma$201.56
Nebraska$206.24
Louisiana$208.59
Wyoming$222.86
North Dakota$227.64
South Dakota$228.59
District of Columbia$230.25
Kansas$230.65
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The countrywide average for comprehensive coverage is $138.87 a year, or $11.57 a month. Shopping around for rates with our free tool below can help you save.

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Knowing the Hit a Dog With a Car Law

What happens when a dog gets hit by a car? To prevent people from cruelly leaving injured or dying dogs on the street and driving off, there are ways these drivers can be charged.

While there isn’t always a specific hit and run law in states, such as the hit and run dog law in California or the hit and run dog law in Texas, it is your legal responsibility to stop, call the police, and do your best to help the injured animal.

If you don’t, you could be charged with animal cruelty. This is the issue with most hit and run accidents. There are usually no charges if the drivers stop and provide aid. Driving off after hitting a dog is when criminal charges will be pursued by officials and owners.

What should I do if I hit a dog and it ran away?

What if there is no dog to help? You should still call the police. Describe where the accident happened, what the dog looked like, and if you could see it wearing a collar or tags.

Having a police report will also help you when filing a claim with auto insurance for damage from an animal. If you want to go the extra mile to help the dog, keep your eyes open for lost dog signs in the area. One may just look like the dog you hit.

Another question drivers may ask is what to do if I hit a dog with my car and it died. In the case of death, you should still follow the same protocol. Call the police, as well as the owner (if the dog is wearing tags).

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Frequently Asked Questions: Does auto insurance cover hitting a dog?

What should you do if you hit a dog and the dog damaged your car? Before we leave you, we want to go over a few frequently asked questions about what to do if you hit a dog with your car.

#1 – Can you sue an animal owner for damage to your car?

Since most drivers wonder does auto insurance cover you if you hit a dog or does auto insurance cover animal damage, sometimes the first instinct is to go directly after the animal’s owner.

What happens if you hit a dog with your car and the owner is at-fault? If you can prove the owner should have had the animal under control and broke a law by not doing to so (such as a dog off-leash in an area that violates leash ordinances), you have grounds to sue.

However, the easier route is to just file a claim on auto insurance to cover the damage to the car after hitting an animal. Your insurer can decide whether holding the owner liable is the right move.

#2 – What is the best way to fix damage on a car after hitting an animal?

Wondering what do if you hit a dog with your car and need repairs? Unless you are a mechanic, contact your insurer to file a claim before toting your car off for repairs. Why?

Your insurer may want you to take your car to a specific repair shop and won’t reimburse you if you go to a shop not on the approved list. So make sure to check auto body repair shop and insurance rules before dropping your car off.

#3 – Am I liable for damage to the car if it’s my animal?

If you hit your own animal, you are responsible for both the repairs to your own vehicle and your dog’s vet bills. Because insurers will see you as liable, they will likely reject your claim.

#4 – What should I do if there is damage to the car from a dead animal on the road?

Does animal liability cover damage to someone’s car if the animal was already dead? This can be a little trickier, as most drivers should be able to spot dead animals on the road and avoid them, so insurers won’t always cover crashes with roadkill under comprehensive coverage.

However, let’s say someone in front of you hits a deer and then you hit the carcass trying to avoid the first car. Situations like this would definitely be covered.

#5 – If I report the damage to my car caused by an animal will my insurance go up?

No. Because animal collisions are (usually) out of the driver’s hands, you won’t be deemed at fault by your insurer. However, if you have a history of filing multiple comprehensive claims in a short period of time, you can expect to have higher rates.

#6 – Does auto insurance cover under the hood animal damage?

If there is under hood animal damage from a collision with a dog, it will still be covered. You’ll also be covered if a family of mice makes a home under your hood and chews up your wires.

While we hope you will never have to deal with auto insurance claims and hitting a dog, we hope our guide to auto insurance and dog collisions has proved useful. To start shopping for cheaper comprehensive insurance rates today, enter your ZIP code in our free tool below.

References:

  1. https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/can-i-sue-for-the-injury-or-death-of-my-pet.html

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