If you’ve ever hit a deer on the road, you know that awful, mixed worry — about the extent of the damage to your vehicle and the suffering of the deer. You may have a lot of questions, too, such as: How is this going to affect my insurance? Do I call the police? Do I just go home? There are right and wrong ways to handle the situation. Let’s go over a few basics:
Basic deer accident facts and statistics
There are two times of year when you are more likely to hit a deer, May-June (breeding season) and October-November (rutting season). Over 42,000 deer are killed each year by autos, and 400 auto occupants are injured in such collisions.
Avoiding a deer collision
There is much you can do as a responsible driver to avoid collisions with deer. Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Pay attention to ‘deer’ or ‘wild animal’ crossing signs.
- Avoid driving at peak deer crossing times — sunrise and from sunset to midnight.
- Be aware of peak seasons — spring and fall.
- Use high-beam headlights, but dim them if you see a deer so it won’t “freeze” in your headlights.
What to do if you hit a deer
- Stay calm. If possible, pull over to the side of the road, and turn on your hazard lights. If you must leave your vehicle, stay off the road and out of the way of traffic.
- Call the police. Let them know if the animal is blocking traffic and posing a threat for other drivers. If the collision results in injury or property damage, you may need to fill out an official report.
- Document the incident. If possible, take photos of the roadway, your surroundings, damage to your vehicle, and any injuries you or your passengers sustained. If witnesses are involved, ask them for a written account and their contact information.
- Stay away from the animal. Even an injured one can attack.
- Double-check that your car is safe to drive. Look for leaks, loose parts, tire damage, broken lights, etc. If you have any doubts call for a tow.
- Contact your insurance agent. The sooner you report the incident, the sooner your agent can file and process your claim.
Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you take, a deer can appear out of nowhere and into the path of your vehicle. If this happens, make sure you contact the policy immediately. Not only will you need the accident report for insurance purposes, but the officer can contact someone to help the injured deer, if necessary.
If you hit a deer, it will most likely be covered under the comprehensive portion of your auto insurance policy and should be considered a covered loss. Your insurance can help you pay for the repairs or replace your vehicle if it has been damaged beyond repair.
Did you know?
You must have actually hit the deer for the coverage to kick in. In other words, the damage must not have occurred while you were swerving to avoid hitting the deer. Swerving can be dangerous, and you may hit another vehicle and injure those occupants as well.
If you have any questions about deer collisions or your coverage, we would be happy to answer them. Call us anytime at 281-998-2500 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org