Living in New England, deer are a fact of life-and hitting a deer can be nerve-wracking. The good news is, if a deer decides to take a jog into the side or front of your car, if you have comprehensive coverage, which is fairly inexpensive, you’ll have coverage for the damage to your vehicle, minus your deductible. The same goes if a kangaroo hops in front of you, an elephant wanders in your way, or jaguar runs in front of you. Although, if that happens, you may have more issues than auto insurance coverage.
Comprehensive coverage is typically thought of as your “glass coverage” but in truth it is much more than that. Comprehensive (listed as part 9 on your policy declarations page) covers:
3) glass (with or without a specific “glass deductible”)
4) collision with FALLING objects
5) collision with animals.
Today we’re discussing part 5. Collision with animal and while that is not limited to deer, it’s the most common here in New England (besides Moose).
Damage from a deer that runs out in front of, into, or ONTO (it’s happened) is covered here. Deer can do a lot of damage to a car-even causing so much damage a vehicle is determined to be totaled.
Comprehensive coverage is one of the most inexpensive coverages to buy-and comes with deductible choices of as low as $300 to as high as $2,500. The tricky part is knowing what deductible to choose. With comprehensive, changing to a higher deductible doesn’t always save a LOT of money-sometimes its only a difference of $10 to go with a higher deductible. Since the cost almost ALWAYS comes out of your pocket, we recommend having as low a deductible as possible.
Now that you know how you are covered, you may want to know how you can possibly prevent a deer from running out into the street in front of your car. The fact is, you just can’t prevent that. What you can do, is understand a little about deer and how they go about their gallivanting ways in the fall here in New England.
When hunting season is at its peak for deer hunters, that is also the most dangerous time of year for drivers. Early November is when bucks (male deer) start chasing does (female deer) around looking for a mate, and become more distracted and less likely to pay attention to crossing at the crosswalk or waiting for traffic to pass before darting out into the road. They are most active dusk to dawn, but during this “rut” season, “But during the rut, deer often abandon their habit of bedding down during the day and move around more in search of a mate” according to a state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife bulletin.
So if you see a deer at the edge of the woods or field about to make his way into your evening traffic commute, what should you do?
“Observe road signs for moose and deer crossings and slow down. Do not swerve to avoid hitting a deer because it may lead to more risk and damage than hitting the deer,” DFW says.
The last thing to cover is what to do if you hit the deer.
1) Pull safely off the road and out of traffic and DO NOT APPROACH THE ANIMAL. It could be stunned and surprise you by jumping up. A jumping deer is nothing to contend with.
2) Call your local police department and ask what the procedure is if the deer is still laying in the road way or if there is significant damage to your car. You can also call the environmental policy at 800-632-8075.
3) Call your insurance agent (that’s us hopefully!) with the details of your damage and where you were. If you have purchased comprehensive coverage, we will advise you with the next steps for having your vehicle repaired, filling out reports and anything else you may need.
Deer and wildlife are a wonderful part of living in New England, and knowing how to handle and protect your vehicle and yourself when a collision with one happens is important.
We encourage you to reach out to us and check into your comprehensive coverage, your deductible and any other questions you may have about this coverage. Remember, We’re here for You.