If you hit a wild or domestic animal, your first instinct may be to grieve the animal and consider all the ways you could have avoided the collision. Depending on the size of the animal, though, you may have to switch gears and start thinking practically about how you will pay for the damage said animal caused.

In most cases, when a car and animal collide, the vehicle sustains little to no damage. However, when the animal in question is a larger one, such as a family dog, coyote, deer or bear, it can cause considerable damage. The collision may even result in injury to yourself. If your case falls into the latter category, you may wonder how you will cover the cost of damages.

Will your car insurance cover the cost of damages after hitting an animal?

Most standard insurance polices will not, unfortunately, cover the cost of damages that result from a collision with an animal. However, Finder says that if you had the forethought to invest in comprehensive collision coverage, you may be in luck. Comprehensive coverage will not only cover you in the event that you hit an animal but also, if you swerve to avoid hitting an animal and hit a pothole or some other object instead. However, if you swerve and hit another vehicle, the incident becomes an accident, in which case, your collision coverage will kick in.

Should you file a claim after hitting an animal?

While your comprehensive coverage may cover the cost of damages, you should weigh the pros and cons of filing a claim before you take decisive action. If the cost of repairs exceeds that of your deductible, and if you cannot afford to pay for repairs out of pocket, then it may be a good idea to file a claim. However, if neither is true, it may not make much sense to go through the hassle of filing a claim.

If you are like many drivers, you may hesitate to file a claim out of fear that it will raise your insurance rates. The good news is that filing a claim against your comprehensive coverage policy is unlikely to raise your rates. However, if you activate your collision coverage because you, say, swerved out of your lane and hit an oncoming car, your rates may go up.