How to Avoid Hitting Deer and Moose with your vehicle - Dec. 11

How to Avoid Hitting Deer and Moose with Your Vehicle

Pay attention, particularly if you are driving at dawn or dusk or if you are traveling during the fall mating season. You cannot see deer if you are not looking for them.

Reduce distractions. Put away the cell phone and keep noise to a minimum. Ask your passengers to help you look for deer.

Wear your seat belt and insist that all passengers do likewise.

Use your headlights at night, switching to high beams when possible.

Slow down. You can probably stop in time to avoid hitting a deer if you are driving at or slightly below the speed limit.

Stop and wait, flashing your hazard lights: If you see a deer in the road. It will eventually move away. If it stays still, try flashing your headlights and honking your horn; once startled, the deer will leave the roadway. Remember to wait for the rest of the group to cross the road.

If a collision seems inevitable, slow down as much as possible and hit the deer. Do not swerve around the deer; you could flip your car, drive off an embankment or hit an oncoming vehicle. You might even collide with another deer from the herd.

Note: Are you covered by insurance, see below?

The number of deer related accidents spike every fall. Deer auto accident statistics are staggering. Deer have a mind of their own and react unexpectedly. The only thing you can control is your own reaction to seeing a deer in your path. Prepare yourself for a potential deer accident and learn the answers to common questions regarding your insurance.

Should I swerve to avoid hitting a deer? 

Your natural response will tell you to do just that, but the 'experts' say No! Never swerve to miss hitting a deer. A lot more damage and injury is at stake if you swerve to attempt avoiding impact with a deer. Once you swerve, you are at a much greater risk of hitting oncoming traffic, a tree, light post, mailbox, or ditch. The damage from hitting a deer is often minimal in comparison to hitting one of these other objects. Injury is also a lot more probable when you swerve to miss a deer.

The consequences for swerving to miss a deer can be significant in regards to your insurance policy too.

Hitting an inanimate object with your vehicle is a collision. Collision accidents often come with higher deductibles and higher surcharges.

Swerving to miss a deer is a natural reaction. It takes focus to consider all the repercussions of swerving. A deer can cause major damage to your vehicle and cause injury, but the potential is much greater if you plow into a tree. Take your foot off the gas and keep a straight course to reduce damage and higher insurance rates.

Am I covered? Deer accidents are covered under the comprehensive coverage of your insurance policy. If you are unsure of your coverage, locate your declarations page to verify. A quick phone call to your agent or customer service representative can also clarify what coverage you have listed on your vehicle.

Sometimes after a deer accident, a tow may be required. If you have comprehensive coverage, the tow will automatically be covered as part of the claim. If you do not have comprehensive coverage, but have roadside assistance, your tow will be covered. No comprehensive coverage plus no roadside assistance, means you will be on your own for both the damage of your vehicle and the tow.

Do I have a deductible? Comprehensive coverage is often purchased with a deductible. Some companies do offer a zero deductible, so it depends on how you set your policy up. Comprehensive is less expensive than collision and is often sold with a lower deductible. If you have a deductible listed on comprehensive, it will definitely apply to a deer auto accident. Check your declarations page or call your agent to verify what your deductible is listed at.

Do I need a police report? Yes; it it suggested that Police reports are handy with any insurance claim; however, usually they are not required for a deer claim to be paid out. It is recommended to get a police report especially if you have hit multiple deer recently. Documentation makes the claim process cut and dry. If you are able to get a report filed with the police department, get it done.

Will it affect my insurance rate? Unfortunately, a definite answer across the board of insurance carriers is not available. Insurance companies have varying rules on comprehensive claims. Many times, comprehensive claims do not affect your insurance rate, but it is something you will have to verify with your carrier.

Deer accidents are frequent in many areas of the Canada and the U.S.  Knowing how to react when you see a deer can minimize your injuries and insurance bills. Know what your coverage is before a claim arises. Understanding how much your deductibles are and when they apply will prevent a lot of hassle. Speak with your agent or customer service representative if you have any questions about your coverage.