What Should I Do if I Hit an Object on the Road?

October 15, 2018

Every driver is faced with many different perils while driving. You may be driving down the highway when the tire of the car in front of you bursts and sends rubber and debris flying at your car. Or perhaps you’re driving across a twisting country road at night and a deer unexpectedly jumps in front of your car and causes you to smash into it. Or maybe you are driving down an unfamiliar route and look down for a minute to check your navigation system and end up hitting a large object left in the middle of the road.

Objects lying in or flying across the road can be unavoidable at times. Unfortunately, the damage can be severe and it can be confusing to determine whether your car insurance policy will cover the loss and costs to repair the damage. What happens if you hit an object on the road?

Collision vs. Comprehensive Claims

If you hit an object on the road, the first thing you need to understand is how your insurance company will treat the claim. Depending on the scenario, it may be treated as a collision claim or a comprehensive claim.

Collision Claim

Hitting an object on the road can cause front end damage and undercarriage damage to your vehicle. Whether the object is fallen debris dropped by a pick up truck, a pot hole in the road, or a fallen tree or lamp post, it will be considered a collision claim on your car insurance. Generally hitting an object is considered to be an at-fault claim, meaning your car insurance rates may be affected in the future unless you have accident forgiveness. You should also expect to pay a deductible when filing a collision claim.

Comprehensive Claim

If the object is laying on the road it is considered a collision claim but if the object is flying in the roadway it is treated different. Flying debris, rocks or other objects are considered to be unavoidable and therefore would be treated as a comprehensive claim as long as the object is still mid-air when you hit it. A deductible usually still applies, but it is often a much lower deductible than a collision. Comprehensive claims generally do not affect your insurance rates. However, comprehensive claims are very common can add up quickly. Some insurance companies may surcharge based on how many times you have filed a comprehensive claim so it is best to check with your insurance provider how a claim may affect your rate.

Below are some examples of what would be covered by collision claims and comprehensive claims.

Collision Claim Comprehensive Claim
  • Fallen debris
  • Pothole
  • Fallen tree or lamp post
  • Other inanimate objects
  • Flying debris or rocks
  • Other flying objects
  • Animals such as deer or dogs

Never Swerve to Avoid Object in the Road

It is a natural reaction to swerve and try to avoid hitting an object in the road. However, swerving can actually lead to more damage and can be extremely dangerous. You may lose control on the road and may hit something else instead such as a tree. This can also be more expensive in the long run because of more extensive damage and injury. Furthermore, if you swerve to avoid hitting an object on the road and then hit something else, it will be considered an at-fault collision claim which will increase your car insurance rates. To be safe, never swerve to avoid objects in the road and only drive around an object if you have plenty of time to safely get around it.