What Happens If My Car Hits a Deer, Pedestrian or Building?

What Happens If My Car Hits a Deer, Pedestrian or Building?

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If you hit a deer, pedestrian or something else, you should move your car off the road if possible, call the police, take pictures of the damage, get a copy of the police report and contact your insurance company.

Whether any damage or injuries will be covered by your insurance depends on who caused the accident and the type of car insurance coverage you have.

What happens if I hit a deer with my car (or any other large animal)?

If you hit a deer or large animal with your car, you should take the following steps:

  1. Get your car and yourself to safety
  2. Call the police
  3. Take photos to document any damage
  4. Get a copy of the police report for your insurer
  5. Contact your insurance company

If the animal is injured, stay away from it to avoid getting hurt and ask the police dispatcher to call animal control or the local game warden.

Does insurance cover hitting a deer?

If you have a full-coverage policy and you hit a deer, your insurer should cover the cost to repair damage to your car.

Damage to your car that's caused by an animal is generally covered under comprehensive insurance, which is included in a full-coverage policy.

However, if you only have liability insurance, you'll have to pay for any damage to your car out of pocket.

If you were injured, your medical bills will only be covered by insurance if you have personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) coverage. If you don't have either of these coverages, or your expenses exceed your limits, you can use your health insurance to help cover medical costs.

Does hitting a deer raise your insurance rates?

Your insurance rates should not go up after an accident with a deer.

Hitting an animal with your car is not considered an at-fault accident to most auto insurers, meaning your rates will stay the same, even if you don't have accident forgiveness.

However, if you have multiple comprehensive claims over a short period of time, your insurer may consider you high-risk, which could result in a rate increase. For this reason, you should avoid filing a claim if the damage to your car is minimal.

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What to do if you hit a pedestrian with your vehicle

From an insurance standpoint, hitting a pedestrian is much more complicated than hitting an animal. Not only will you have to pay for damage to your vehicle, but you may have to pay the medical expenses of the person you hit, and legal expenses if you're sued.

Determining who was at fault and whether your insurance will cover the accident after hitting another person depends on the laws in your state.

If you're in an accident with a pedestrian, you should:

  1. Move off the road to a safe place
  2. Check on the pedestrian
  3. Call 911 and file a police report
  4. Take photos of evidence, including pictures of damage to your car, crosswalks and traffic signals
  5. Exchange contact information with anyone involved
  6. Contact your insurance company, and provide a police report and evidence

It's important to refrain from saying anything that puts you at fault like "I feel so guilty." Anything you say that implies you're responsible for the crash can end up costing you a lot more money.

For instance, if you live in a pure contributory state, like North Carolina, you have to be found 0% at-fault to recoup losses from an accident.

However, if you live in a state like Georgia, which has a less black-and-white system of defining fault, you may need to hire a lawyer and fight to accurately define your fault in the accident.

Does car insurance cover hitting a pedestrian?

Your car insurance will cover a pedestrian's medical expenses if you're at fault.

If you have personal injury protection or medical payments coverage, your insurance will use that coverage first. If the pedestrian's medical expenses are greater than those limits, or you have liability-only coverage, then your bodily injury liability insurance will cover any remaining costs.

Whether damage to your own car is covered depends on who caused the accident and the type of insurance coverage you have.

Does hitting a pedestrian raise your insurance rates?

Hitting a pedestrian will raise your insurance rates if the accident was your fault.

If a pedestrian makes a claim against your insurance, or you file a collision claim to repair your vehicle, your insurance company will raise your rates.

However, if the pedestrian crossed the street without looking or was standing somewhere they shouldn't have been and the accident is determined to be their fault, your insurance won't have to pay for damages. Therefore, your rates won't go up.


What happens if I hit my own car?

Depending on the structure of your auto policy, it can be difficult to make an insurance claim if you own both cars involved in an accident.

There are three scenarios in which insurance will cover you if you hit your own car:

  • If both cars are under the same policy and have collision insurance, you may have to file a claim for both vehicles. In most cases, that means you'll have to pay a deductible for both vehicles. However, some companies may waive the second deductible in certain circumstances.
  • If only one car has collision insurance, then only the damage to that car will be covered. If the secondary car is on the same policy but doesn't carry collision insurance, you will have to pay for any damage to that vehicle out of pocket.
  • If your secondary car is insured by another company under your spouse's or another resident's name, you may be able to file a claim through the secondary car's property damage liability insurance. That will cause the second car's rates to go up. You should weigh the benefits of insuring cars with multiple companies, as you'll miss out on a multicar discount, which could save you up to 25% depending on your insurer.

If you file a claim after hitting your own car, your insurance rates will go up.


What happens if I crash my car into a house or building?

Crashing into a house or building is fairly straightforward — it's covered under your property damage liability insurance. Property damage liability is required in 48 of 50 states, so almost every driver should have it.

Your rates will go up after a property damage claim.

Crashing into your own house is more complicated.

If the damage is extensive, as in several thousand dollars, it may be easiest to pay your homeowners deductible to cover the cost of repairing your house.

Likewise, paying your deductible for your collision coverage is the simplest solution for any damage to your car.

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If you want to avoid paying a double deductible and an increase in both your home and auto insurance rates, you may want to get a lawyer to view your home and auto policy. You may be able to file a claim against your car's property damage insurance, which would pay for the house damage.

Frequently asked questions

Will my insurance go up if I hit a deer?

Your insurance should not go up if you hit a deer. However, if you have a number of recent comprehensive or collision claims, your insurance company could see you as a high-risk driver and raise your rates. Drivers with past claims should consider paying for minor damage out of pocket to avoid a rate increase.

Does liability insurance cover hitting a deer?

Liability-only insurance does not cover hitting a deer. Damage from impacts with animals is covered under comprehensive coverage, which is not included in a minimum-coverage policy.

Does car insurance cover hitting a pedestrian?

Yes, car insurance will cover the pedestrian's medical expenses under your bodily injury liability coverage. This coverage is required by 48 states, so nearly all drivers are protected in this scenario. However, damage to your own car is only covered if you have collision coverage or if the pedestrian caused the accident.

Does insurance cover you if you hit your own car?

Your car insurance may pay for repairs if you hit your own vehicle, but it depends on the coverage you have. If both cars have full coverage, which includes collision insurance, then you'll be covered in this scenario. Additionally, if your cars are insured by two separate companies, you can file a property damage claim against the vehicle that caused the accident.

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