Does car insurance cover hitting a dog?

Many drivers want to know, does car insurance cover hitting a dog? Drivers with comprehensive insurance will be covered for damage from animal collisions. An estimated 300,000 animal accidents happen every year, which makes comprehensive coverage worth getting for a driver’s peace of mind.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: May 21, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Comprehensive car insurance can cover repairs from damage by animals and other factors that you didn’t cause
  • It may also cover damage to the interior of your car
  • If you hit a dog, call emergency services then file a claim with your insurance company

Hitting a dog with your car can be a traumatic experience. If you’ve injured or killed a dog, or someone else has hit your dog, you’ll want to understand who pays for repairs. You may be worried about animal cruelty laws as well as what coverage you need for hitting an animal.

Although comprehensive insurance will protect you, it is crucial that you have all the facts if you hit a dog. If you want to know does car insurance cover hitting a dog, this article will tell you everything you need to know.

Enter your ZIP code in our comparison tool above to find lower auto insurance rates after hitting a dog with your car.

Comprehensive Insurance Covers Hitting a Dog

The first thing you need to know if you are wondering does car insurance cover hitting a dog is that yes, it does — but only if you have the right type of insurance. That type is called comprehensive coverage.

Most companies cover repairs to your car that were caused by animal damage if you have this type of coverage. 

Your first step after hitting a dog should be to file a police report. The report helps to prove that the incident happened. It also helps when you do the next step, filing a claim with your insurance company.

If the dog is injured, the police or animal control will know what to do. If you take the dog to the vet yourself, you may need to get their assistance in locating the dog’s owner.

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Types of Car Insurance

With so many types of car insurance, it’s no wonder a driver might be confused and wonder, does insurance cover hitting an animal?

Choosing the right type of insurance is important because too little cover can mean you end up paying for damage when the unexpected happens.

How much can you expect to pay? Here’s how much car insurance costs on average, by coverage type.

U.S. Average Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Car Insurance Coverage TypeAverage Annual RatesAverage Monthly Rates
Comprehensive$148$12
Collision$326$27
Liability$555$46
Full$1,029$86
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Your rate will vary according to your individual circumstances, so it’s best to check rates in your particular state to see.

Does Insurance Cover Hitting an Animal?

Does car insurance cover animal damage? GEICO and other big insurance companies get asked this all the time. Animal accidents are a lot more common than you might think.

The total number of collisions per year is estimated to be 300,000. And that’s just the ones on record. In fact, many of these types of accidents never get reported.

Basic liability insurance covers the minimum required by law. This includes damage to other cars, property, and medical coverage. 

Comprehensive and collision insurance types are the most common add-ons to the basic car insurance package.

Comprehensive covers damage for everything other than an accident. Things like a tree branch hitting your car, extreme weather, or theft are all covered. It also covers secured items inside the car like seats or a car stereo.

Can I Be Compensated if My Pet Is Injured or Killed?

You may not be a driver but an owner whose pet was injured or killed. If so, you are probably asking, “If my dog was hit by a car, who is responsible?”

As a dog’s owner, you are responsible for keeping it from running into traffic. If your dog is injured, you may have to pay for its treatment. A good thing to think about is getting pet insurance to help with unexpected vet bills and surgeries in the future. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about car insurance and hitting a dog

Here are some questions you may have about hitting a dog and your car insurance.

#1 – How can I avoid hitting a dog in the future?

The best way to avoid the headache of hitting a dog is to stop it from happening in the first place. Here are some tips:

  • Use your high beams to better see the road and alert any dogs in the road
  • If you see a dog, slow your speed, press firmly on the brake, and blow your horn
  • Avoid swerving at all costs, as this is the top reason drivers get into accidents

#2 – What happens if I hit my own dog?

If you injure your own dog, you will pay for both your own vehicle’s repairs and your dog’s medical bills. Since insurers would consider you responsible, your claim would most likely be denied.

#3 – Will my insurance go up if I report dog-related damage to my car? 

No, it does not. Since animal injuries are (usually) out of the driver’s control, the insurer will not hold you liable. If you have a history of filing more than one comprehensive claim in a short period of time, the rates would be higher.

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