Who's Liable If My Car Hits A Horse?

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Q: Who's Liable if My Car Hits a Horse?

If I hit a horse in the road, does my car insurance pay for the horse, or does the horse owner pay for my damaged car?

Please settle an argument between a friend and me--if I hit a horse that is in the road, and the accident damages my car and kills the horse, is my car insurance liable for the cost of the horse, or is the horse owner liable for the repairs to my car?


A: This actually depends on the state and the county where the accident occurred—specifically whether or not horses are permitted to be on the road in question. In some parts of the country, if a road goes through a horse owner’s property or runs adjacent to it, the property owners can allow their horses on the roadway. In other places, animals must be kept off the roads regardless of property ownership. 

If your car insurance includes collision coverage, your damages will be covered either way. If the accident occurred on a road where the animal was permitted to be, your car insurance liability coverage is likely to cover the horse. Some horse owners carry animal collision insurance which may cover the horse’s injuries or death. 

If you carry only the state mandated coverage, which will not include collision, your liability coverage can cover the horse if you are at-fault, but you are not likely to receive any compensation for the damages to your car. If you are not at-fault, you will have to sue the horse owner to cover damages to your vehicle.

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