Car Insurance on Wildlife Collisions

Facts about wildlife-related crashes

• Each year, about 200 people are killed
• Cost totals more than $8 billion
• 90 percent of the accidents occur on rural two-lane roads
• Most common animal involved is a deer

What to do if you hit an animal

• First, make sure you and your passengers are okay
• Pull to the side of the road and turn on your hazard flashers
• Use flares (if you have them) to warn other drivers
• Call the police and report the accident (many state laws enforce strict penalties for fleeing the scene of an animal-related accident)
• Take pictures of the scene; document any damages to your vehicle.

Driving tips to avoid hitting deer:

• Watch for deer between sunset and midnight, and during pre-dawn hours when they’re most active.
• Be especially attentive for deer during the October-to-January migration and mating season.
• Slow down in posted deer-crossing areas.
• If you see one deer, remember that others are probably nearby.
• Use high beams at night in deer territory when there is no oncoming traffic.
• If a deer is frozen in your headlights, honk your horn in a loud, sustained blast.
• Don’t rely on deer whistles or roadside reflectors; they have not been proven effective.
• If you can’t avoid a deer, brake and stay in your lane. Don’t endanger other vehicles.
• If you strike a deer, do not touch the animal. It may harm you or further injure itself.
• Call police immediately if you hit or are hit by a deer.
• Take pictures of the accident scene and vehicle damage for your insurance claim.

A final word about swerving

If you decide to swerve and miss the deer, bear or other kind of animal, and end up hitting something like a tree, you will need to make a claim under your collision coverage. The bottom line is since you didn’t actually hit the animal, your comprehensive coverage will not apply.