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Hit a deer/Threw a rod

by Joannie
(Evansville, Indiana)

Three weeks ago we hit a deer. Car was towed to a bodyshop. Insurance reached an agreement with the shop (after initially wanting to total it).

Once fixed, the body shop took it for a test drive. The car died and they had it towed to the dealership. The engine threw a rod.

Insurance sent a second adjustor to take pictures of the engine and he said he didn't see how a deer could have caused it. The mechanic said that he couldn't say whether it did or didn't. New engine is $3300.

Insurance company won't pay to have the engine torn apart and looked at (as the mechanic suggested) but said that we could pay to have it done and if the deer caused it, they would pay.

Do we have to pay for that? Even though it is an unusual situation, it isn't unheard of. It will cost $250-300 to take apart the engine and of course, the deer might not be at fault.


Hello Joannie,

The insurance company is trying to fit this under the "mechanical breakdown" exception of your policy. If it was not the deer, but some other mechanical problem, the there is no coverage.

However, remember that the once you file a claim and show that a loss actually occurred, it would appear that you did that as you filed the claim, the burden of showing that the mechanical breakdown is the cause of the engine problem shifts to the insurance company (in other words, they must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the damage was caused by mechanical breakdown and that the exclusion actually applies).

If they cannot show that (you can have your own mechanic refute theirs), at your cost, or the evidence is 50% (maybe it did or maybe it did not), then coverage should be granted.

I hope this helps,

Contact a lawyer for more information.

Good Luck

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