Imagine you are driving and out of nowhere a deer comes onto the road, resulting in a head on collision between you and the deer. While many of these types of collisions go unreported, you need the answer to the question: is hitting a deer considered an accident?
Deer collisions are especially common in places with large deer populations. Today, we will reveal whether hitting a deer is considered an accident by your insurance provider. We will answer the question from different standpoints, including what you should do if you have a deer collision.
The short answer
The short answer to the question is yes, hitting a deer is considered an accident.
From the legal standpoint and in terms of insurance, most car insurance companies categorize collisions with animals such as deer as accidents, meaning you will have a certain level of coverage in these scenarios.
These types of accidents are usually classified as “deer-vehicle collisions” or “wildlife-vehicle collisions” for instances where the animal may not be a deer.
Why Hitting a Deer is Considered an Accident
Now that we have answered the question as to why hitting a deer is an accident, we get into the question of why?
This is because these types of collisions are unintended between the animal and the vehicle, and essentially an unpredictable situation that is out of control of the driver.
Of course, this would not apply in cases where the driver sees a deer and does not slow down, or intentionally moves toward hitting the deer. Cases like this are a different story.
What should you do if you hit a deer?
Like all accidents, there is a step by step procedure that should be followed in reporting a vehicular accident. The most notable thing is that if you hit a deer, and the deer is injured, and you leave without reporting the incident in many states, that is considered a crime.
Which brings us to the question once again of: What should I do if I hit a deer?
Pull over safely
If you hit a deer, whether or not the deer is injured or if the deer has fled the scene, you will want to stop the car and pull over safely away from ongoing traffic.
This is so that you can better recollect yourself, assess the scene, and prepare yourself for the next coming steps. During this step you will also want to be sure to assess the scene – are you hurt?
Are your passengers hurt? Is the deer injured? Are there damages to your vehicle? Take a moment to assess.
Contact Law Enforcement
The next step would be to contact the necessary authorities. This can be your local police department, wildlife conservation, and 911 if medical assistance is necessary.
It is important during this step if there is injury to the deer to keep your distance from the animal as these animals can be unpredictable when in this type of state.
Document the Incident
Law enforcement will encourage you to take documentation and probably will on their end as well so it is better to be a step ahead.
Document any injuries or damage sustained to your vehicle from different angles, as well as additional damage to outside public property if there are any.
If you are able to picture the deer for a sizing measure safely, you can do that as well. These pictures will also help in filing your insurance claim later on.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Be sure to report your collision to your insurance company. The steps in this case may vary per company but it is important that you have made the report to show that you have complied with local authority as well.
Once the officer or authorities have given you the go signal to leave, you will want to make sure to do a final check of your vehicle to make sure it is safe to drive.
Take this time to also make sure you as the driver are in a stable condition to drive away as well. If it seems that either you or your vehicle are not in a condition to drive.
Be sure to make the necessary arrangements such as a towing service to get you off the scene safely.
Does insurance cover hitting a deer?
In most cases, hitting a deer constitutes an accident which means that it is covered under most insurances. Of course, this will vary for different insurance companies so this is something you will want to consider especially if you live in an area that has a higher density in the deer population.
Take note that just because these types of accidents are covered under insurance, does not mean that the coverage is automatically available to you.
In most instances, coverage for animal-vehicle collisions are covered under comprehensive coverage and not just the standard liability coverage which means that you will likely have to make it a point to avail of this type of coverage.
Again, it is best to consult your car insurance company regarding this. Or if you are looking into different insurance plans, you will want to consider this when you are comparing different insurance providers and their plans.
Insurance and Deer Accidents: Maximizing your Claim
If all the boxes check out, and you are covered under your insurance for your deer-vehicle accident, then you will want to be sure you are maximizing your claim.
Here are some ways to help you do that:
Document the Scene
Be sure you have documentation from all angles that accurately show the damages incurred as well as the extent of the damages. This will be submitted to your insurance company and will be useful in negotiating the coverage.
Get an Evaluation
This means for both your vehicle, yourself, your passengers, and any assets of value that may have been damaged during the accident. Namely, a medical examination, a quote for repair estimates, and a list of damaged items may suffice.
Additional Tip: Work With Preferred Shops
Oftentimes, insurance companies have a list of providers and repair shops that they work closely with. It is a good idea to get in touch with these shops to streamline the process and ensure that your insurance will cover the costs.
Ask About Rental Coverage
If your car needs additional repairs, look into rental coverage offered by your insurance in the meantime – be sure to ask because sometimes it will not be offered to you otherwise.
Finally, you will want to be sure to keep all records from the time of the accident all the way up to all expenses incurred in the repair and recovery process.
This will help in case you will need to appeal or negotiate your claim. Remember, an airtight defense is backed up with thorough documentation.
Seek Additional Help
If your insurance company is giving you a difficult time with your claim, you may want to consider seeking additional help such as an insurance agent assigned only to your case, out with the help of a public adjuster to help in advocating for you and maximizing your claim.
Our Final Thoughts
While hitting a deer is an unfortunate event that can cause injury both to wildlife and to yourself and your assets, it is an event that happens more than you think.
Taking the right steps to protect yourself and knowing your duties and entitlements with your insurance company helps in alleviating the stress that comes with the process. We hope this helps!