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If you’re a driver in an area with a high deer population, you may be aware that deer and car collisions are unfortunately a common occurrence. Deer behavior can be unpredictable, which can result in deer colliding with vehicles on the road, even if the drivers are paying attention. When this occurs, the accidents can cause significant damage to your vehicle.
As such, you may be wondering if your insurance will cover the cost of repairs. The short answer is that it depends. Some types of car insurance will cover the costs related to hitting a deer, but not all car insurance policies will. In this article, we’ll discuss whether liability insurance or full coverage car insurance will cover hitting a deer, as well as how these accidents can affect your insurance rates.
Does liability car insurance cover hitting a deer?
Minimum coverage car insurance, also known as liability insurance, is the minimum amount of coverage you need to have to drive legally in your state. This type of coverage does not cover the damages to your vehicle that are caused by hitting a deer. Liability insurance only covers bodily injury and property damage that you cause to another person or people in an accident. If you hit a deer, your liability insurance policy will cover any damage that the collision causes to another person’s vehicle or property, but it will not cover the cost to repair your own vehicle.
Does full coverage car insurance cover hitting a deer?
If you have full coverage car insurance, which includes both collision and comprehensive insurance, you may be in luck if you hit a deer and it causes damage to your vehicle. If you purchase a full coverage car insurance policy, you’re usually covered for the damages caused by impacts with deer and other animals under your comprehensive coverage.
In general, your comprehensive car insurance coverage is what helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle if you collide with another object or person’s property, regardless of who’s at fault. That includes damages caused by hitting a deer while driving. But hitting a deer or another animal is not the only claim you can file under comprehensive coverage.
Comprehensive insurance also covers:
- Broken windows and windshields
- Falling objects
- Fire damage
- Flood damage
- Theft of the car
- Weather events
When you purchase comprehensive coverage, it may benefit you to consider the deductible amount. The higher you raise the deductible, the lower your premium tends to be. If you decide to choose a higher deductible, make sure you can pay the deductible amount when you file a car insurance claim.
What happens if I swerve to avoid a deer?
If you swerve to avoid hitting a deer and instead hit someone’s property or an object, you could end up filing a claim for collision instead of comprehensive. A collision claim may cause you to lose good driving discounts and may include a surcharge on your policy. Comprehensive claims usually do not come with a surcharge, though your insurance rates may be affected by your recent claims history when your policy renews.
Will hitting a deer increase my insurance rates?
It depends. If you file a claim for hitting a deer, it has the potential to raise your insurance premiums. That’s because any claim you file under your insurance policy may affect the price you pay for car insurance.
The insurance company you are insured with, your driving record and claims history and other factors are used to determine how your car insurance is priced at each renewal or when you shop for a new carrier. And while a comprehensive claim usually does not increase insurance rates as much as a collision claim, you could see an increase in your premium at your next renewal if you file a claim for an accident involving a deer.
Frequently asked questions
It is a good idea to file a police report with any accident, including if you hit a deer, especially if there are injuries. The police can also assist with removing the deer from the road, which can help prevent another accident. If you are unsure about filing a police report after an accident, you can call the non-emergency police phone number to get assistance. Before you get out of the car to assess the damage after a deer accident, move your car to a safe location first.
If you hit a deer and need to file a claim, how much you pay is determined by your comprehensive deductible amount. For instance, if the deer causes $2,000 worth of damage to your car and you have a $500 comprehensive deductible, you are responsible for $500 and your insurance company will pay the remaining $1,500 to repair your car. If hitting the deer totals your car, the insurance company will pay you the book value minus your deductible amount.
If you hit a deer and it’s still alive, you should first stop the car and assess everyone inside for injuries. Move the vehicle from the road into a safe location and call 911 or the state patrol. If the deer is still alive, keep your distance and notify the authorities of your location and whether the deer is in the roadway. If an ambulance is needed for you or another person in your vehicle, ask for assistance when you call the police about hitting the deer.
You can hit a deer at any time of the year, so it is best to always be alert to avoid an accident. However, deer crashes happen most often between October and December, with the largest number occurring in November, which is peak mating season for deer. You are most likely to be involved in a deer accident when driving at dusk and dawn.