This is the time of the year when car accidents due to deer hitting your car are high.
Cars strike more than 1 million deer each year, mostly during the fall mating season. Each of those collisions represents about $3,100 in damage to vehicles, according to insurer State Farm.
These are the most common questions readers have submitted about deer-vehicle collisions and car insurance coverage.
To be covered for a run-in with a deer, you need to have comprehensive coverage as part of your car insurance policy. Although the accident with the deer wasn’t your fault, your comprehensive deductible amount will be due.
You might think a deer strike would be covered by collision, since this coverage normally covers when your car has an impact with another vehicle or object; however, contact with animals (wild or domestic) is specifically listed as a loss covered by “other than collision” or comprehensive coverage on policies normally.
If you have a liability-only policy, then you should know that your policy doesn’t cover your vehicle for any damages it receives in an accident with a deer or of any other object since a liability policy covers the damage you do unto others and not your own vehicle.
When you make contact with a deer, your claim is filed under comprehensive coverage; however, if you swerve to miss a deer and crash, it is a collision claim.
Although it may have been a deer that started the chain of events that led to you to crash the car, if your vehicle didn’t actually have contact with the animal, then it isn’t a comprehensive claim. If you collide with another car or an object (such as a guardrail or tree) or roll your vehicle, then you need to make the claim for your damages under your collision coverage.
No. Presently, there aren’t any states that will pay for repairs to your vehicle, or even your deductible, if you hit a deer. Yes, your state may have an agency to manage the deer population, but it’s not as if they can prevent deer from running into the roadway; especially during mating and migration season.
There have been a few states where proposals have called for the state to pay for damages, or a set amount like $250, to a car owner after his vehicle has been hit a deer. So far, none of these bills has been passed into law.
In general, car insurance companies don’t require you to get a police report to file a comprehensive claim for running into the deer, but it’s advisable to get one anyway.
Having a police report backing up your claim that your car’s damages were due to contact with a deer will help you be able to place this claim under your comprehensive coverage. If the claims adjuster is not able to validate your claim that you hit a deer, there is the possibility that the claim may end up under your collision coverage instead.
Even if your insurance provider doesn’t require a police report, your state may require a police or crash report be filed for accidents where there is any injury, or property damage above a certain amount.
Read more: Do I need to report a collision even if I don’t have a claim?
Comprehensive claims, such as one for hitting a deer, don’t typically increase your car insurance rates. However, with many companies, if you file a certain number of claims within a specified period your rates can go up. So, if you already have had a few auto insurance claims in the past few years with your car insurance company, then this one could push your premiums higher due to the amount of claims you’ve made in total, not just this specific claim.
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