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Does your auto insurance provide coverage for hitting deer?

Posted by Scott Stueber on Nov 11, 2014 11:27:09 AM

deer-signSo far this fall I’ve seen quite a few deer standing on the side of the road. Did you know that mating season for deer runs from October through December? As a result, the deer population is more active, accounting for an increase in collisions. In 2013, Wisconsin vehicle/deer collisions totaled 18,338.

Do you know if your insurance will cover a deer hit? In this blog, I’m going to discuss two types of insurance coverage for damage to your vehicle: collision and comprehensive.

  • Collision means the upset of your covered auto or its impact with another vehicle or object. For instance:
         a. Running a stop light and hitting another car;
         b. Swerving to avoid a deer and hitting a tree; or
         c. Hitting a parked car, mailbox, or building.

  • Comprehensive coverage (other than collision) is for losses caused by missiles/falling objects, fire, theft/larceny, explosion or earthquake, windstorm, hail, water or flood, vandalism, contact with a bird or animal, or breakage of glass.
Both collision and comprehensive coverages are optional unless you have a loan or are in a lease. Contact your independent insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. If you don’t have the coverage, you’re responsible for paying for your own repairs.

While deer hits are common, how the situation unfolds will determine if your insurance rates will increase or not.

In driver’s education, students are taught not to swerve for an animal in the road; however, this is hard to remember when an animal suddenly runs in front of you. Our instinct is to swerve, which we all know can lead to very serious or deadly injuries. Jeff Huber, owner of Drive for Life Driving School, provides a few tips on what to do if you encounter a deer on the road.

If a deer runs out and you do not have the ability to brake, your safest option is to hit it. While this is upsetting, it’s the best option for you and your family. Please remember to stay in your car and contact local authorities. If you have comprehensive coverage, the damage will be covered by your insurance policy.

Since you had no control over the situation, it’s likely your insurance premium will not increase; however, if you swerve to avoid the deer, cross the median, and cause an accident, this is a different and much more serious situation which causes different coverages to be activated.

The blog below shares some tips on how to avoid hitting a deer with your car this fall.

Do you see the deer looking at you?

Do you have any tips you would like to share? If so, please share them in the box below.

Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance

Topics: Auto Safety, Auto Insurance

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