A deer can do a lot of damage to a vehicle. They’re big and heavy and have things like hooves, and sometimes antlers, all of which can do serious damage to your car. If your car isn’t totaled after hitting a deer (which it very well might be), then it will certainly need a lot of time in a repair shop, and that’s never cheap. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average cost per claim filed for a deer-related accident was just under $4,000 in 2016.
Make Sure You Have the Right Insurance
If you drive in an area where you know deer tend to be active (or you’re going to be traveling to a rural area in the near future), you might want to check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered in case you hit a deer. But it’s not just hitting a deer you need to worry about – there’s also the possibility that you’ll brake and/or swerve to avoid hitting the deer, only to hit another car or a light pole. These are two different types of accidents that require two different types of insurance, so make sure you’re covered for all possible scenarios.
Collision vs Comprehensive Insurance
If you have comprehensive insurance on your car, then any damage caused by a deer should be covered by your insurance. Just keep in mind that your insurance will cover the costs of the damage only if a deer actually makes contact with your vehicle. That means that if you swerve to avoid hitting a deer and crash into a tree, those expenses would not be covered by comprehensive insurance – although they would be covered by collision insurance.
Collision coverage is just what it sounds like: it’s coverage that’s meant to cover the costs associated with your car running into something – such as another car, a tree, a light pole, etc. All of those are considered to be significantly different from the random act of a deer running across the road in front of you. That’s why direct deer-related accidents are paid for by comprehensive insurance, rather than collision insurance.
Regardless of which type of insurance you need, don’t forget to factor in the deductibles and limits. All insurance plans require you to pay a portion of the damages before the insurance will kick in and they all have limits to how much they’ll pay. If the damages incurred exceed what the insurance company deems to be the current value of your car, they will consider the car to have been totaled and will pay you for the value of the car.
Timing Is Everything
There are certain times of the day, and of the year, when deer are more active than they are at other times. If you live in a rural area, or regularly drive over a stretch of road where deer are often seen, be careful when driving through these areas before sunset, at night, and shortly after dawn, especially from October through December. It’s deer hunting season for a reason, so you want to be extra careful when driving through rural areas around that time of the year.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or some other type of accident, you need the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer.