by Hollie McAfee

A few weeks ago, I started seeing a lot of a particular photo on my Facebook news feed.  It was of a sign on I-95, north of Bangor that said, “Watch for Eagles on Road.”

Now, I’ve lived in Maine most of my life and I know to watch for deer and moose, and have seen a bear or two cross the road in my time.  There are squirrels and rabbits and porcupines, I’ve even stopped to let a turtle cross in front of me.  Flocks of smaller birds love to sit in the road and face near death before flying off a split second before my car reaches them.  But, eagles?  IN the road?

I’ve seen bald eagles flying high overhead, and they are magnificent creatures.  I had never seen one up close until this week.  And, it was on I-95 on my way to Bangor.  Who knew?

My family and I were traveling to Bangor to a basketball tourney game (of course.)  We saw some movement ahead and recognized several crows picking at something lying close to the highway.  Among the crows, was an animal that was much, much bigger than a crow.  We thought it was of the four-legged variety, it was so big, but we then noticed a giant white head and brown shoulders, and by the time we got close to it, we realized it was a bald eagle scavenging the frozen carcass of what was probably, at one time, a deer.

We were amazed!  Three of us have smart phones with cameras, but we were so amazed by the sight, we didn’t even think to shoot a picture until we’d zoomed past.

I really don’t know why eagles are hanging out near the highway this winter.  Maybe that’s where the food is.  Coming so close to one in our vehicle made me think about the possibility of hitting one, and that brought out the old insurance agent in me.

If you have full coverage on your vehicle, you have collision coverage and comprehensive (also known as other-than-collision) coverage.  Collision coverage usually has a higher deductible, which is the amount that you pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays.  My policy has a $250 collision deductible.  Comprehensive coverage usually has a lower deductible, for instance, mine is $50.  Perhaps  because we live in a state with moose,  it’s very common for people to think that hitting an animal is covered by the collision portion of your policy.  After all, vehicles are often totaled after hitting a moose, and often the accident is fatal to the occupants of the car.  Here in moose country, we think of that as a COLLISION.

However, collision coverage applies to a collision with another vehicle or object, such as a telephone pole or snowbank.  Comprehensive covers such things as theft, vandalism, windshield damage….and damage caused by animals, including a “collision” with an animal.  This is something I didn’t really learn myself until I started working in the insurance field.

So, now you know the difference between comprehensive and collision coverage and you’ll know which deductible applies if you have an accident.  But, please, think about that AFTER the accident and avoid those eagles, and moose and deer, etc, on the highway.