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Caught in the Headlights: What to do in a Vehicle-Animal Collision

You’re driving home late one night and the moon is a waxing crescent, the night sky all but black. You have your bright headlights on, but it’s still difficult to see. As you’re rounding a curve, a deer comes out of nowhere and collides with your vehicle.

You come to a screeching halt and your stomach drops: you’ve never hit an animal before. Hoping that the animal is okay as you exit the vehicle, you can’t help but wonder if your auto insurance will cover whatever damages your vehicle might have.

To make sure you’re fully prepared in such an event, here are four things to do in a vehicle-animal collision. And remember: comparing auto insurance rates and getting an insurance package that covers you in this type of situation before it happens will help you recover faster.

Pull off completely to the side of the road and turn on your emergency lights

In the shock of the accident you will want to exit your vehicle right away to check on the animal. Do not do this; another car could come around the bend and hit your vehicle, and more importantly, you on full impact.

Pull your vehicle off to the side of the road. Turn on your emergency lights to alert other drivers. If you have a vehicle emergency kit that includes traffic cones or flares, use them. Place the cones at your vehicle and your flares beside the animal to keep other drivers on the road from running over the injured (or deceased) animal.

Call the police and report the accident

Following the accident, call the police. Wait for the responding officer to arrive and file a report. Describe in as much detail as you can what led to the accident. Though you may think this was a single-vehicle accident and want to leave the area, know that a lot of states have strict animal hit-and-run laws. If it’s found you hit someone’s beloved dog or cat and fled the scene you will be punished with severe penalties.

Call animal control and report the accident

If the animal survived the accident and needs medical assistance, immediately call animal control and inform them of the situation. Animal control will either arrange to have the animal taken to an emergency vet, or, in dire circumstances, will put the animal out of its misery. You can call animal control or vet services once after you’ve called the police.

Report the accident to your insurance company

After taking pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident, call your auto insurance provider and inform them of the animal-vehicle collision. When you file your claim, include the images you took at the scene and a detailed description of what happened. Within a couple of days an insurance adjustor will come out to inspect your vehicle and will inform your agent how to proceed with the claim. After paying your deductible, your insurance provider will pay to have the vehicle repaired.

In this type of situation, you really don’t want to be caught in the headlights without insurance. To get an auto insurance package that’ll cover you in an animal-vehicle related accident, visit CoverHound. We’ll match you with an insurance package that’ll protect you should the unexpected occur.

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