Now that fall is slipping into winter, many in the U.S. are experiencing nighttime driving earlier in the day. These growing number of hours in the dark increase the chance of a driver colliding with a deer or another animal. The prospect of such a collision is scary for numerous reasons - you don't want to hurt an animal or damage your car.
Preparing for this type of accident is all you can do. Driving the speed limit, using your brights when possible and looking for movement on the side of the road will all help you avoid a collision with wildlife. If you see a deer or other animal on the side of the road, it's best to slow down and use your horn to scare it away, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Don't swerve though. Many accidents are caused by drivers not staying in their lanes. Instead, just slow down as much as you need to avoid a collision.
However, accidents can happen, and it's important to know whether your auto insurance will cover such a case. Hitting a deer costs an average $2,800, according to the III. If someone is hurt in the accident, the average increases to $10,000.
Whether a collision involving wildlife is covered by auto insurance will depend on the driver's specific policy. In comprehensive plans, hitting a deer is a no-fault situation and covered. Collision coverage, however, may not reimburse drivers for this kind of incident.
Depending on how you file the claim, and the rules of your state, hitting a deer may increase your rates. If it's considered a no-fault accident, the claim probably won't cause the insurer to raise your rates. However, if the claim is filed under collision insurance, it may affect your monthly insurance payment.
The best course of action is to do your best to avoid hitting a deer. The backup plan is to make sure your auto insurance will cover the damage if you do.