Someone recently directed my attention to a humorous article about a catfish that damaged an auto’s window:

Fish Smashes Windshield; Will Insurance Cover It?

Funny claim, but when I read the story, I was not amused by this statement [emphasis added]:

“Animal damage is covered if you have optional comprehensive coverage. If you only have collision coverage, then you’re not covered.

I’ve seen maybe a couple of personal auto policies that do restrict coverage for an animal collision only to comprehensive coverage. However, the ISO PAP and every other personal auto policy I’ve seen has no such limitation. The claim that animal collisions are not covered if you only have collision, and not comprehensive, coverage is a myth that just won’t go away.

A collision is a collision, whether with an animate or inanimate object, and covered under collision coverage on most auto policies. However, IF you have comprehensive coverage, it’s covered there and not under collision coverage. The advantage is that the comprehensive deductible is often less than the collision deductible and there likely is no rating penalty as there quite likely could be with a collision claim.

However, in the unlikely event that your personal auto policy provides collision but not comprehensive coverage, if the language is like that in the ISO PAP, it’s certainly covered as a collision.

ISO’s business auto policy is worded in an even clearer way. Check out this article:

Myth: Only Comprehensive Coverage Covers Hitting a Deer

I posted my disagreement with the article’s coverage conclusion on the web site and, after 8 days (so far), it still says, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” I’ll update this blog post if anyone ever moderates my comment or otherwise responds.

It’s frustrating when “industry” web sites provide what I believe to be inaccurate information. On another occasion, an Independence Day article that homeowners insurance didn’t cover fireworks damage because it was usually illegal in most cities. That’s not true of most homeowners policies I’ve reviewed.

For President Obama’s inauguration, some people were renting out their homes, an industry article said there was NO coverage under homeowners policies. Once again, most homeowners policies I’ve read permit occasional rentals of the entire home and regular rental of part of the home, with some restrictions and limitations.

The “hitting an animal is not a collision” myth has been perpetuated by a number of “industry” web sites, including in the case of deer, more than one state insurance department site.

It’s bad when industry information sources and regulators publish wrong information, especially info that’s detrimental to consumers. I hope, when you come across such instances, you take the time to correct them.

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Bill Wilson

Founder at InsuranceCommentary.com
One of the premier insurance educators in America on form, coverage, and technical issues; Founder and director of the Big “I” Virtual University; Retired Assoc. VP of Education and Research from Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Reprint Request Information

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