Driving on a serene country road at dusk can be a calming experience, but it also comes with the risk of encountering wildlife, particularly deer. Collisions with deer can be frightening and cause significant damage to your vehicle, leading to financial burdens if you’re not adequately prepared. In this article, we’ll explore whether insurance covers hitting a deer and what steps you should take to protect yourself and your vehicle.
Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer?
Whether your insurance policy covers hitting a deer depends on the type of coverage you have. Most standard car insurance policies include two primary types of coverage that may be relevant in this scenario:
- Collision Coverage: This type of coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle when you collide with another vehicle or object, including hitting a deer. However, collision coverage only applies if you were at fault for the accident. If the collision resulted from the deer’s sudden appearance and you swerved to avoid hitting it, you might not be considered at fault, and comprehensive coverage will come into play.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage, often known as “other than collision” coverage, protects you from damage caused by events beyond your control, such as theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and yes, collisions with animals like deer. If you have comprehensive coverage, hitting a deer should be covered, subject to your policy’s terms and conditions.
Check Your Insurance Policy
To determine whether you have comprehensive coverage or collision coverage, and what it includes, review your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider directly. Some policies may combine both types of coverage, offering more comprehensive protection. Keep in mind that comprehensive coverage typically requires you to pay a deductible before your insurance kicks in to cover the remaining expenses.
Handling a Deer Collision Incident
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of colliding with a deer, follow these steps to ensure your safety and protect yourself from unexpected expenses:
- Pull Over Safely: After the collision, pull over to a safe spot, turn on your hazard lights, and assess the damage.
- Check for Injuries: Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, seek medical assistance immediately.
- Contact the Authorities: Report the accident to the police, especially if there’s significant damage to your vehicle or if the deer’s body obstructs traffic.
- Document the Incident: Take photos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any injuries sustained. This documentation will be crucial when filing an insurance claim.
- Don’t Approach the Deer: While it may be tempting to check on the deer, it’s best to keep a safe distance, as injured animals can be unpredictable and pose a risk.
- Contact Your Insurance Provider: Inform your insurance provider about the collision as soon as possible. They will guide you through the claims process and provide further instructions.
In summary, car insurance can indeed cover hitting a deer, but it depends on the type of coverage you have. Collision coverage applies when you are at fault, while comprehensive coverage protects against damages from unforeseen events, including deer collisions. To avoid unexpected expenses, review your insurance policy to ensure you have adequate coverage, and always exercise caution while driving, especially in areas with high deer populations. By staying informed and prepared, you can navigate through the aftermath of a deer collision with greater confidence and peace of mind.