There are many drivers in Alberta who have had close encounters with the province’s abundant wildlife. Unfortunately, these encounters can result in significant damage to vehicles. While drivers in Alberta are required to carry mandatory insurance coverage for third-party injury and damage, wildlife strikes are not covered under this mandatory insurance. However, drivers and vehicle owners have the option to purchase additional coverage, such as collision and comprehensive insurance, to protect against such incidents.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), as per the current law, any damage to a vehicle caused by a “live non-domestic” animal is covered under comprehensive insurance. So, if a driver hits a wild animal, they should be covered. However, domestic animals, like cows that escape from pasture and wander onto the road, are not covered under comprehensive vehicle coverage. Insurance companies view these incidents as collisions and do not include them in comprehensive coverage.
This can create a problem for some drivers who only have comprehensive insurance and not collision coverage, depending on the age of their vehicle. In cases involving wild animals, there is no possibility of financial recovery for insurance companies. On the other hand, if a pet, which should not normally be on the road, causes damage to a vehicle, the insurance companies may seek financial damages from the owner.
Rob Depruiss from IBC explains that at the end of the day, a vehicle will be repaired with the right coverage. However, if someone only has comprehensive insurance and no collision coverage, their only recourse to get their vehicle repaired is to take the animal’s owner to court for costs.
It’s worth noting that all of these laws regarding insurance coverage for animal impacts are relatively new, introduced in 2021 and taking effect on January 1, 2022. Before 2022, different insurance companies had varying approaches to managing wildlife and domestic animal impacts.
In terms of auto insurance coverage, all policies in Alberta are mandated to be “exactly worded.” This means that while the cost of insurance may vary between companies based on the options chosen, the coverage itself remains the same.
As we enter the fall season, when drivers are more likely to encounter animals roaming the roads, especially around dusk, it is a good time to review your insurance policy and ensure you have the necessary coverage to protect against such incidents.
1. Are wildlife strikes covered by mandatory insurance in Alberta?
No, wildlife strikes are not covered under the mandatory insurance in Alberta. Additional coverage, such as comprehensive insurance, is required to protect against damage caused by wild animals.
2. What about damage caused by domestic animals?
Damage caused by domestic animals, such as cows that escape from pasture, is not covered under comprehensive vehicle coverage. Insurance companies classify these incidents as collisions.
3. Can I repair my vehicle if I only have comprehensive insurance?
If you only have comprehensive insurance and do not have collision coverage, your only option to get your vehicle repaired after an animal strike is to take the animal’s owner to court for costs.
4. Are there any differences in insurance coverage for animal impacts among different insurance companies?
No, all auto insurance policies in Alberta are mandated to have the same coverage. The cost may vary between companies, but the coverage remains the same.
In conclusion, it is important for drivers in Alberta to consider purchasing additional coverage, such as collision insurance, to protect against wildlife strikes. Reviewing your insurance policy and ensuring adequate coverage is especially crucial during the fall season when encounters with animals on the road become more common.