Does My Car Insurance Cover Me if I Hit a Deer?
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There are a lot of situations and elements that pose threats to your car. Distracted drivers, fallen trees, wet or icy roads, vandals, and many other hazards can cause damage to your car as well as to you and your passengers. Often overlooked in the list of things that can damage your car are deer and other large animals. Every year, tens of thousands of deer are hit by moving vehicles, with a handful of other large animals being hit as well.
These deer collisions can cause injury and occasionally even death to the driver or passengers, but the primary damage is done to the vehicle. You may think that an animal causes limited damage to a car, but most accidents involving deer result in thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.
It’s easy to think of deer as being the same as any other obstacle when you’re driving, but insurance companies don’t always see things the same way that drivers do. Deer are treated differently than many other objects, and it’s important to know where you’re covered.
Does car insurance cover a vehicle when it hits a deer?
As odd as it sounds, colliding with a deer is not considered a collision - at least not to insurance companies. While being involved in an accident with another car, or even a stationary object like a tree or telephone pole is classified as a collision, hitting a deer – or any other animal – is viewed as incidental damage.
In other words, if you want your vehicle to be protected from animal damage, you’ll need to purchase an insurance plan that includes comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage takes care of unpredictable damage to your vehicle, such as harm caused by weather, vandalism, theft, or natural disasters. If you have comprehensive coverage, it will cover your vehicle in the event that you hit a deer.
Be aware of your deductible
It’s fairly common for comprehensive coverage plans to have a high deductible. This is enticing for a lot of car owners, because unpredictable incidents covered by comprehensive plans can be very rare. By keeping a high deductible, car owners have lower annual premiums, but still get coverage in the event of serious damage to their vehicle.
If you live in an area where deer collisions are common, you may want to consider raising the premiums on your comprehensive coverage, so as to lower the deductible. Deer collisions routinely result in $3,000 to $5,000 worth of damage, so if you have a high deductible, you’re going to end up paying a lot out of pocket. If a deer collision seems likely given the habitat that you drive in, pay a little more each year to avoid such a difficult financial hit.
If you live in a rural area, you’ll definitely want to purchase comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, so that you don’t get stuck paying a huge amount of money to repair your car, all because a deer jumped into the road. Just like with other drivers, deer are unpredictable animals, and can be the cause of a serious accident at any time. As is always the case, you want to keep your car protected, so that you can keep your wallet protected, so always take deer into consideration.