Following a nice autumn drive, you’re heading home as dusk falls when you spot two bright spots hovering above the road in front of you. Realizing that it’s a deer, you hit the brakes, but it’s too late.

An accident involving a deer or other large animal can injure riders and do serious damage to your vehicle. Unfortunately, deer don’t generally carry insurance coverage, so any damages will be your responsibility. Animal-related accidents aren’t covered by collision insurance, so you’ll be only covered if you have comprehensive auto insurance coverage.


What to do if you hit a deer (or a moose, or a bear)?

If you hit a large animal, take these steps:

  • Move your vehicle off the road for safety and turn on your hazard lights.

  • Call the police.

  • If there are witnesses, get their contact information and ask them to share what they saw with the police.

  • Take pictures of any visible car damage as well as any injuries. Snap shots of any evidence that an animal was involved, such as blood or fur on the vehicle.

  • Call for a tow if needed. A tow will be covered if you have roadside assistance or comprehensive coverage.

  • Do not approach the animal, because it might injure you. Instead, call animal control.

What to do if you hit a dog

Having a collision with an animal will most likely be an emotional experience, but don’t split the scene. If you get caught after leaving an injured dog, you could be cited for animal cruelty. Here’s what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Move the dog from the road, but first, protect yourself against bites. Use a towel or jacket to muzzle the animal before attempting to move it.

  • Contact animal protective services if the dog is too aggressive to handle safely.

  • Call the nearest veterinary clinic to give them a heads-up that the dog is on its way.

  • Try to contact the dog’s owner. First as common courtesy, but also because the owner might be responsible for any veterinary costs dependent upon who’s at fault.

  • If there’s any damage to your car and the dog was unrestrained, talk to the dog’s owner. In such a case, the pet owner might be liable for vehicle damage. In other cases, damage could be covered under your comprehensive insurance policy.


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Disclaimer: This page is for educational purposes only and is intended to help answer the most common questions people ask about insurance. Information published here might not reflect the specific policies and products offered by AAA.