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Hitting a deer or other animal while driving may seem like an out-of-the-ordinary scenario, but accidents involving animals happen more than you might think. Between July 2020 and June 2021, around 2.1 million collisions like these occurred in the United States, according to an annual analysis from State Farm.

The good news is that if you carry comprehensive coverage, your insurance should cover hitting a deer.

Here’s what you need to know about car insurance and hitting a deer:

Does car insurance cover hitting a deer?

What your car insurance does (and doesn’t) cover comes down to the type of coverage you have for your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage generally covers damage to your vehicle from hitting a deer.

In addition, comprehensive auto insurance covers other animal-related incidents, including:

  • An animal chewing wires under your hood
  • An animal destroying the interior of your vehicle (like rodents burrowing in a trunk or a seat)
  • An animal running into your car

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What does collision insurance cover?

While a comprehensive policy covers vehicle damage if your car hits an animal, it doesn’t cover you in other instances. If you swerve to miss the deer and then hit another object or vehicle, like a fence, your collision coverage would kick in.

Here’s a closer look at these two types of automobile insurance:

  • Collision coverage: Covers damage to your vehicle from an accident or collision with a car or object
  • Comprehensive coverage: Covers damage to your vehicle that’s out of your control, such as theft, damage from natural disasters, or damage that animals cause

If you have comprehensive coverage, you likely have collision coverage too. However, it’s a good idea to check your auto insurance policy to be aware of your coverages and what they protect you from.

Learn More: Full Coverage Car Insurance: What Does It Mean?

Are injuries covered after hitting a deer?

If you hit a deer, comprehensive coverage would pay for any repairs your vehicle requires. But comprehensive coverage doesn’t cover bodily injuries. For that protection, you need medical payments (MedPay) coverage or personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.

These additional coverages can help you keep your out-of-pocket costs down. However, your regular health insurance policy will typically provide more robust coverage for things like doctor visits and X-rays.

Will hitting a deer increase my monthly premiums?

Whether or not your insurance carrier will raise your rates varies by insurer and state.

If your insurance provider deems the collision with the deer a not-at-fault accident, you may not see an increase in your premium. Again, it depends on your insurer and its assessment. Check with your insurance carrier to find out if your comprehensive coverage would increase in the event that your vehicle hits an animal.

Check Out: Here’s What to Do When You Get in a Car Accident

What to do if you hit a deer

After you’ve made sure that you and any passengers are OK, follow these steps:

  1. Move out of the road and turn on your hazard lights. If it’s safe to do so, move your car out of the road. Turn on your hazard lights and get to the shoulder or a safe location on the side of the road. It’s important to remember not to approach the deer, as animals can be very unpredictable, particularly when injured.
  2. Call the police. Just as you would in any other automobile accident, call the police. Be sure to let them know what happened, your location, and if the animal is blocking the road or creating a hazard for other drivers.
  3. Document the accident. Be sure to take photos of any vehicle damage, injuries to you or passengers, and the conditions of the road and your environment (for example, if it’s dark, you’ll want to document this.) If you have witnesses, get their contact information and ask them for their account of the accident.
  4. Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Depending on the severity of the accident and the damage to your vehicle, your car may not be safe to drive. If your vehicle has any broken lights that would make it dangerous to continue driving in dark conditions, fluid leakage, or if the airbags deployed, it’s best to make alternative arrangements until a mechanic can inspect your car. In some instances, hitting a deer can total your vehicle.
  5. File a claim. It’s important to file a claim as soon as possible. Check your insurance card or your insurance carrier’s website for information on how to get started. Filing a claim is the only way to seek reimbursement for any vehicle repairs and damage.

While the likelihood of hitting a deer with your car varies by state, there’s always a chance. Because of this, it’s important to select the right type and amount of car insurance coverage to provide you with peace of mind. Getting into an accident involving an animal is stressful, but having proper coverage can make it easier to deal with the aftermath.

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About the author
Lauren Bowling
Lauren Bowling

Lauren Bowling is an award-winning blogger and freelance writer whose work and financial expertise has been featured on The Huffington Post, Fox Business, CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Redbook, and Woman’s Day Magazine.

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