If you find yourself wondering, “Does my insurance cover hitting a deer?” you’re not alone. In the United States, there was a significant number of collisions between vehicles and animals from July 2020 to June 2021, as revealed by State Farm’s yearly analysis. Among these incidents, a staggering majority of approximately 1.4 million accidents involved deer.
For drivers unfortunate enough to experience such an encounter with a deer, there is some reassurance. Your auto insurance, provided you have a comprehensive policy, should cover the expenses incurred. Understanding what to anticipate from your insurance carrier and how to handle the situation is crucial if you find yourself in the unfortunate event of colliding with a deer while on the road.
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Does Car Insurance Cover Hitting a Deer?
When it comes to the question of whether your insurance covers hitting a deer, it’s essential to consider the rising costs of auto insurance. While cutting down on coverage may seem tempting, the last thing you want is to find out that your car insurance doesn’t protect you from the damages incurred in a collision.
Fortunately, if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you can rest assured. Your auto policy should cover you in the unfortunate event of hitting a deer. Comprehensive auto insurance steps in to address various damages, including busted headlights, a smashed windshield, or more extensive repairs that may be necessary.
There are instances where the impact of hitting a deer can be so severe that your vehicle is considered a total loss. However, with comprehensive auto insurance, the expenses for repairing or replacing your vehicle will be covered, up to the limits specified in your policy. You will only be responsible for any deductible outlined in the policy or for costs that exceed your coverage.
Does Car Insurance Over Other Animal-related Damage?
Comprehensive auto insurance extends its protection to other forms of animal-related damage as well, even in the absence of a direct collision. Suppose, for instance, squirrels chew through your car’s electrical wiring or a bear manages to enter your truck and causes havoc inside. In such cases, a comprehensive policy is likely to cover the necessary repairs.
However, it’s important to note that comprehensive coverage does not apply to damages incurred when swerving to avoid a deer and colliding with another object. Should you veer off the road, collide with a fence, or even hit another vehicle, it is your collision coverage that comes into play to address the resulting damages.
Does Insurance Cover Injuries After You Hit A Deer?
If you find yourself injured after hitting a deer, there’s a possibility that your insurance can step in to cover, or at least contribute to, the associated costs. This becomes particularly relevant if you have optional medical payments coverage included in your auto insurance policy.
Referred to as MedPay or medical payments coverage, this provision can assist in paying for specific medical expenses for both you and your passengers following an accident. The exact coverage may vary depending on your policy, but generally, MedPay can be utilized for the following:
- Doctor appointments
- Emergency room treatments
- Diagnostic procedures like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
- Medical insurance deductibles and co-pays
- Surgical expenses
- Funeral costs
MedPay often complements existing health insurance plans. Typically, your regular health insurance will cover the majority of your medical expenses, including doctor visits, diagnostics, and even physical therapy. However, if you’re responsible for an annual deductible or individual co-pays, MedPay can cover those costs, ensuring you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket, up to the chosen coverage limit.
In addition to MedPay, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage can also be relevant in this scenario, as it can cover your medical expenses.
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What To Do If You Hit a Deer
After ensuring the safety of yourself and your passengers following the collision with a deer, it’s important to follow these steps:
Move to a safe location: If feasible, immediately relocate your vehicle away from the road and into a secure area. Activate your hazard lights and position your vehicle on the shoulder, a nearby driveway, or even on the grass adjacent to the road. Avoid approaching the deer at this time.
Contact the police: Depending on your location, the severity of the collision, and the presence of any injuries, either dial 911 or contact the non-emergency police line in your area. Inform them if the deer is obstructing the road, as this could pose a hazard to other drivers.
Document the accident: Once it is safe to do so, take photographs of any damages to your vehicle or personal property. It is also beneficial to capture images of the roadway, illustrating the point of entry for the animal and the collision location. If there were witnesses such as other drivers or pedestrians, obtain their account of the incident and collect their contact information.
Ensure your vehicle’s drivability: In many cases, colliding with a deer results in vehicle damage that does not require a tow. If you intend to drive your car home, conduct a thorough inspection to ensure it is safe to operate. Examine the headlights, tires, windshield, and undercarriage. While a dented hood may not impede your journey, a broken headlight at night poses risks.
File an insurance claim: Once you have reached home or a safe location, promptly contact your auto insurance provider to initiate the claims process. The insurance agent may request a statement regarding the collision or ask for any relevant photos or diagrams you have captured.
Will Hitting a Deer Increase Your Monthly Premium?
Filing a claim on your auto insurance coverage carries the potential to impact the cost of your coverage in the future. However, the specific outcome depends on various factors such as your insurance carrier, state regulations, and whether the collision is deemed an “at-fault” accident by your insurer.
In certain cases and states, if you hit a deer and file a claim under your comprehensive coverage, it may not result in an increase in your premiums. However, in other situations, even an unavoidable accident with a deer could lead to a rise in your insurance premiums.
Ultimately, it is crucial to consult with your insurance carrier for accurate information. They can provide insights into how a deer collision may affect your premiums, explain the available coverage options, and outline the expected expenses you would be responsible for in the event of a claim.