An animal strike isn't uncommon, especially during the autumn months of October, November and December when chances of hitting a deer or other large wildlife doubles. According to data analysis by State Farm, drivers on the average have a 1 in 116 chance of a collision with an animal. 

The company estimates there were over 1.9 million animal collision insurance claims nationwide between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

State Farm found that drivers in West Virginia were most likely to strike wildlife with a one in 37 chance.

Look out when driving, especially at dawn and dusk, but if an animal does dodge out in front of your car and you make contact, you car will be covered -- if you have the right coverage on you policy.  And if you swerve and hit a tree instead there is also coverage for that too.

If you hit a wild animal

Hitting an animal on the road (the most common is a deer collision) is covered by comprehensive coverage. If you don't have comprehensive coverage on your car, you're out of luck. In some states, laws or insurance regulations keep car insurance companies from raising your rates if you make a comprehensive claim. Even in the states whose laws do not stop car insurance providers from raising rates due to a comprehensive claim, many auto insurance providers will not up your premiums due to a comprehensive claim. It is not the same for collision claims.

If you avoid hitting an animal and damage your car

If you are driving and swerve to avoid hitting animal, and as a result damage your car, such as driving into a ditch or a pole, you may file a claim under collision coverage. Without collision on your car insurance policy, your car's damages will not be covered. Collision claims often raise your rates, so you should evaluate the damage and decide if you'd rather pay out of pocket.

When a deer appears in front of you in the roadway it may be natural to try and dodge the animal but what various states' Department of Transportation offices advise is that if a deer jumps out in front of you and a collision seems inevitable, you should not attempt to swerve out of the way to avoid the animal. Swerving could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle; either may end up causing more damage and injury then if you hit the deer.

If you injure your own pet

Technically, because your pet is your own property, your vehicle's property damage liability insurance would not normally pay veterinarian bills if you hit your own pet with your car. In general, your own vehicle's liability coverage never covers your own personal items that you hit - such as your mailbox, garage door, fence or pet.  Some auto insurance policies include coverage for pets, but this is if they are harmed inside of your vehicle during an auto accident, not if they were outside of the vehicle and hit by your car.

If you injure someone else's pet

You could use your car's liability insurance to pay someone else's veterinarian bill if you injure their pet with your car. You may, however, have a case  to say you were not negligent and thus not at fault and have to pay, if the pet was off their leash in a driving area. In most states, you may not be 100 percent liable since the owner should have control over their pet. If that is the case, you may be assigned some portion of liability and your auto policy may pay for a portion of the pet owner's related bills, it all depends on your state's negligence laws.