Deer And Their Effect On Your Auto Insurance

Every year, deer cause many auto accidents. Whether the deer itself is hit, or the driver swerves into a tree or another vehicle, deer-related accidents number close to one million each year. Sometimes the accident could be prevented, but other times, the deer comes out of nowhere and is hit before the driver can react. What can a driver do to prevent an accident? And if there is an accident, what affect will it have on a driver's auto insurance?

How can you lower the risk of an accident?

  • Slow down in areas where deer are often seen. This particularly includes wooded areas where hiding places are easier to find.
  • Remember that deer travel in groups. If there's one, there are likely more in the shadows nearby.
  • Deer are most active as the sun rises and sets. During these more active times, drive with extra caution when in areas deer frequent.
  • Keep focused on the road when driving. Avoid distractions, such as cell phones, to keep reaction times high.

The deer came out of nowhere! Now what?

If a deer has been hit, don't approach it. Injured animals are more likely to attack than flee. Make sure all people in the car are uninjured and then call the appropriate authorities. If there are injuries, call for an ambulance. Otherwise, call the police. Many auto insurance companies will require a police report to handle your insurance claim.

How will this be covered on insurance?

The coverage used will depend on the details of the accident. If the car hit the deer itself, that's a comprehensive coverage claim. This coverage will have a deductible that must be paid before the claim will be processed. So, if the damage to the vehicle is only $400, and the deductible is $500, no claim would be paid.

If, on the other hand, the driver swerved and hit another car, that's a collision claim. It would be covered under the collision coverage of the policy and also subject to a deductible. Collision coverage also applies if the driver swerved and hit a tree, fence, or other stationary object.

Will this accident raise the premium?

The accident's effect on the premium will vary based on the type of claim, claim frequency, and the number of total claims on the policy. The type of claim matters because, generally, collision claims impact premiums more than comprehensive claims do. A policy holder with a high number of claims in a short time will see more of an increase than a policy holder with only this single accident.

Deer are frequent visitors in many areas. They cross the road and pay little attention to cars. As a driver, avoiding them can be impossible. Drive safely and responsibly to lower the impact deer might have on your auto insurance policy. For more information, visit David Paulson Agency Inc.