When Robert came into the office and showed us the pictures of a herd of rams running in front of his car, I thought it was the perfect time to make sure everyone knows what happens if a ram decides to ram your vehicle. It's also important to know the difference in coverage between a ram ramming your car and your car ramming a ram (there is a difference)!
When a RAM decides to ram you: If a ram decides to challenge your car to a battle, you can expect your insurance company to cover the claim under your comprehensive - other than collision - coverage. Even though, technically, the ram collided with your car, it should be considered a comprehensive claim because you did not collide with the ram. The distinction between the two is important because, for the most part, a comprehensive claim will NOT raise your insurance premiums but a collision claim will!
Comprehensive claims are for things that happen TO your vehicle but not as a result of your driving. Hail, wind, vandalism, theft and a ram ramming your vehicle are all examples of comprehensive claims. Because things that happen TO your car are usually no fault of your own, most insurance companies do not count a comprehensive claim against you and do not raise your insurance rates. Unless you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, you will be on your own to cover the cost to fix any damage from your car from these types of events.
Comprehensive coverage is usually required by your lender if you have a loan on your car, and the insurance company will give you a comprehensive deductible (typically $500-$1000) that you are responsible for paying if you file a comprehensive claim. If you own your vehicle outright you may choose to remove the comprehensive coverage in order to lower your insurance premiums but, you'll be solely responsible for the damages if your vehicle is damaged.
When YOU ram a ram: Chances are, if you ram a ram, it will be on accident and not on purpose. However, if you (your vehicle) runs into a ram, most insurance companies will consider that to be a collision claim because your vehicle collided with the ram. Collision claims ARE typically counted against you if the collision is considered to be your fault. So, if you are sitting at a stop light and someone rear ends you, the collision would not be your fault and your insurance rates should not be affected.
However, if a ram runs across the road and you collide with it, most insurance companies will consider that to be an at-fault collision and increase your rates. You may be asking why it would be considered your fault if the ram ran out in front of you? Because you are expected to be in control of your vehicle and avoid objects in the road. Sometimes your only option is to hit the ram instead of running into another vehicle or driving off the road. It happens, but it is still considered an at-fault collision because you collided with the ram.
In Colorado, a deer is about the only animal that you can collide with and have it count as a comprehensive claim instead of a collision claim. Dogs, horses, rams, etc. usually fall under the collision coverage of your insurance policy. Of course, you must purchase collision coverage for your vehicle in order for your insurance company to pay a claim. On the flip-side, if there were no other vehicles involved and no tickets issued, you may choose to pay for the damage of colliding with a ram out of your own pocket in order to keep your insurance company out of it and avoid having your insurance premiums go up.
It can get a little confusing, I know. The easiest thing to do if you find your vehicle in a confrontation with a ram is to call your local, professional agent and ask for advice. Every situation is different and it's important to have a pro to discuss your situation with.