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Does liability insurance cover hitting a deer?

Family white-tailed deer cross road
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If you only have liability insurance, this coverage does not cover hitting a deer. Each coverage on your car insurance pays for different types of claims. Having the right coverage in place will mean you may be able to get your car fixed if it is damaged after a collision with a deer.

Liability insurance and hitting a deer

Liability insurance does not cover hitting a deer. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage you cause to another person or people in an accident. Because liability insurance pays for the other party, every state requires either minimum liability limits or proof that you can take on financial responsibility for damages you cause.

What kind of insurance covers hitting a deer?

If you want car insurance that covers hitting a deer, you need to have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance is one of two physical damage coverage options you can include in your car insurance policy.

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
  • Vandalism
  • Weather events

When you purchase comprehensive coverage, 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.

Comprehensive coverage vs collision coverage

The other type of physical damage coverage you can include in your car insurance policy is collision coverage. If you have collision insurance, it will pay for damages to your car if you collide with another object or person’s property. Like comprehensive coverage, a deductible applies for collision coverage, so be mindful of the deductible amount if you have to file a claim for a collision.

Since collision insurance only applies when you collide with an object or property, it will not cover a deer accident. If you want the most physical damage coverage your auto insurance offers, consider purchasing both comprehensive and collision insurance to protect your finances and vehicle.

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?

If you file a claim for hitting a deer, it has the potential to raise your insurance premiums. Any claim you file under your insurance policy may affect the rate 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. While a comprehensive claim usually does not increase insurance rates as much as a collision claim, you could see an increase at your next renewal if you file a claim for a deer accident.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to file a police report if I hit a deer?

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.

How much is your deductible if you hit a deer?

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.

What to do when you hit a deer and it’s still alive?

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.

When should I look for a deer to avoid an accident?

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.

Written by
Mandy Sleight
Insurance Contributor
Mandy Sleight has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005. She has three years of experience writing for insurance websites such as Bankrate, MoneyGeek and The Simple Dollar. Mandy writes about auto, homeowners, renters, life insurance, disability and supplemental insurance products.
Edited by
Insurance Editor