Does Hitting a Deer Raise Your State Farm Car Insurance Rate?

State Farm understands that hitting a deer is a random incident, so they won’t raise your rates—but you will need the right coverage and documentation to file a claim.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
State Farm shouldn’t penalize you with a rate increase after hitting a deer. However, you will need comprehensive coverage and thorough documentation of the incident to receive compensation through a
car insurance
claim.
One moment, you’re cruising down the highway listening to your favorite song with the sun setting in the rearview mirror. The next, you’re pulled over on the side of the road wondering what the heck just happened. Take a deep breath—even the most vigilant drivers can’t always avoid colliding with a deer.
State Farm is empathic to this situation, so they usually won’t punish you with a rate hike. However, you will need to know what to do following the animal collision to ensure your
car repair
claim will get approved—let us explain.

Does hitting a deer raise your State Farm car insurance rate?

In most cases, State Farm won’t raise your car insurance rate after hitting a deer. Like other car insurance companies, State Farm views this duality between mother nature and human civilization as a random and unavoidable incident rather than an at-fault accident.
Insurance premiums are generally only increased when there is apparent negligence by the policyholder. And with sometimes less than a second to react to a deer crossing the road, this isn’t typically the case.
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Does State Farm cover deer accidents and animal collisions?

As long as you have comprehensive coverage, State Farm will allow you to file an insurance claim after hitting a deer or another animal. For reference, let’s do a quick summary of how comprehensive car insurance differs from liability insurance and collision insurance:
  • Comprehensive
    : Reimburses you for repairs to your vehicle that stem from a damage-causing incident that isn’t a car accident, like hail damage, falling tree limbs, hitting an animal, and more.
  • Collision
    : Reimburses you for repairs to your vehicle after a car accident, even if you were at fault.
  • Liability
    : Reimburses other drivers for property damage repairs and bodily injury expenses that were accrued as a result of an accident you caused.
When you combine these coverages together, you get what the industry calls a full-coverage auto insurance policy. However, liability insurance is the only one that’s legally required (
see your state’s minimum requirements here
). This means adding comprehensive and collision coverage is entirely optional.
But you may want to consider customizing your policy based on where you live. According to
data collected by State Farm in 2017
, these are the top 10 states where your chances of hitting a deer are highest:
If you live in one of these states with a large deer population, it is wise to mitigate your risk by adding comprehensive coverage to your policy. This is especially true during mating season, which occurs between October and December. Deer have especially poor timing when they are chasing after love. 
Follow the state links to see how your auto insurance rate will change if you choose to protect your vehicle with comprehensive coverage.

How to file a car insurance claim after hitting a deer

Unfortunately, insurance companies have grown cynical about the boy who cried deer story. So if you want your claims adjuster to believe that you actually hit a deer, you’re going to need proper evidence. Here’s what State Farm recommends doing immediately after an animal collision to help you stay safe and validate your insurance claim:
  • Move your vehicle to a safe place: If possible, move your car to a safe location on the side of the road. Most deer collisions occur at dusk and dawn when they are most active, so you’ll want to turn on your hazard lights to help alert oncoming motorists. This is especially helpful if there is any debris on the road from the collision.
  • Contact the authorities: If your vehicle or the deer is blocking oncoming traffic, you must contact law enforcement. You may also need to file an official police report if you sustained any injuries. Even if you come away unscathed, a police report is still useful for validating your insurance claim.
  • Document the incident: Document. Document. Document. We can not say this enough. Take pictures of your car, the deer, and the collision scene. Look for irrefutable evidence of blood or hair, especially if the deer ran away. You’ll also want to take down any information from witnesses if there are any available. Without proper documentation, State Farm may decline your insurance claim.
  • Stay away from the animal: Take the pictures for documentation from a safe distance. With sharp antlers and powerful hooves, the frightened deer could injure you if it survived the impact.
  • Don’t assume your vehicle is operational: Look for leaking fluid, loose parts, flat tires, and other potential damage. And don’t just drive away—it’s recommended that you just get a tow truck for two reasons. First, some damage may not be overtly visible. Secondly, State Farm may decline your claim if any further damage is caused after the collision on your drive home.
  • Contact your State Farm agent: The sooner you communicate the incident to State Farm, the sooner your insurance claim can be processed. Either contact your agent or submit your claim on the State Farm mobile app.
After State Farm approves your comprehensive claim and you’ve paid your deductible, all other expenses will be covered!
MORE: The 5 main reasons a car accident insurance claim is denied
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FAQs

Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from damage-causing events that don’t involve a collision with another vehicle. Some examples can include falling objects, vandalism, inclement weather, and, yes, hitting a deer (or any other animal, for that matter).
The average cost of a deer collision is between $2,500 and $6,000, but the final total will depend on the severity of the damages and if any injuries have been sustained.
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