Collisions with animals can be a very litigious issue. Who should pay? Does the blame rest solely with the driver, or, as some would argue, is the animal the one at fault?
Collision with an animal is included under “Comprehensive” coverage (section B3). Insurance companies consider this type of situation a no-fault accident. However, if you avoid the animal and get into an accident or you hit an animal that was already lying on the road, the collision falls under “Collision or upset” coverage (section B2). In this case, you are responsible for the accident, and the impact on your insurance premium will not be the same. Again, accident frequency, including no-fault accidents, can significantly affect your insurance premium. But that’s a topic for another time!
What should you do if you hit an animal while driving? Remember that safety comes first. Make sure that everyone in the vehicle is okay. Do not approach the animal. You may be putting yourself at unnecessary risk if it is frightened or injured. If you can still operate your vehicle without endangering your passengers or worsening the damage caused by the impact, you can continue driving it. If it isn’t drivable or you would prefer to err on the side of caution, you should have the car towed. You will be reimbursed for the towing costs as long as the damage is covered by your insurance company.
As Éducaloi points out, under the Highway Safety Code, “if the animal weighs more than 25 kilograms, . . . you must report the accident at the nearest police station. If you aren’t sure of the animal’s weight, it’s best to report the accident anyway to avoid [a] fine of up to $300 and nine demerit points on your driving record.” If you call the police, they will secure the area and remove the animal from the road to ensure the safety of other motorists.
It’s important to stay vigilant when driving in Quebec. You’re never far from wildlife, and animals can appear on the road at any time. To learn more about the coverage provided by your automobile insurance contract, don’t hesitate to contact your broker, who will be able to advise you.
Éducaloi, “Hit an Animal with Your Car?”.