It's not a matter of if - it's just a matter of when!
And if you live in the south long enough, it's bound to happen.
We are referring to one of the most common comprehensive claims filed – impact with an animal – and that animal is bound to be a deer here in the south.
An accident involving an impact with an animal is covered on your auto policy by comprehensive coverage. Expect to pay a deductible for this claim, even though the accident wasn't your fault. Also, if you only carry liability coverage, your repair costs will be 100% out of your pocket.
We often are asked, "what if I swerved to miss hitting a deer? What kind of claim is that?" Unfortunately, swerving to miss anything that results in an accident is a collision claim – and yes, that typically has a deductible too.
Another common question is, "Do I need to call the police and have a report filed?" While it's not absolutely necessary to have a police report in the event of an impact with an animal – it never hurts to have the report to document the incident and to verify any injuries or other property that may have been damaged. If law enforcement is not readily available to come to the scene – be sure to take photos – especially if the animal is still on the scene. Also, take pictures of the damaged areas of your vehicle – it may give good evidence of the impact – including hair and blood left behind. For your safety, never approach a wounded animal or try to move it.
Impact with an animal that causes an accident will not go on your driving record as an at-fault accident. However, filing the claim will affect your insurance history – and could result in a rate variation, such as the loss of a claim-free discount.
Sometimes impact with an animal is unavoidable. Remember this, deer often move in groups, so when you see one, slow down and be watchful for others in the same area. Deer are more prone to movement at dawn and dusk – so plan to take a little extra time when traveling during these times of the day – especially in the fall of the year. Stay vigilant, and stay safe!