How Much Will Your Auto Insurance Increase If You Hit a Deer?

 

Yeah, that in of itself should tell you everything you need to know.

Deer collisions are, while not a leading cause of accidents, still a major problem. The average deer weighs 200 pounds, and if you run into a 200 pound animal when you’re not expecting it, the damage can be…well…see for yourself:

 

 

Don’t worry, we’ve avoided the gory pictures, but you get the idea: it causes a lot of damage, and may even be potentially fatal depending on how the deer hits and what damage it does. But say you get out of it just shaken and not injured. Is your insurance going to cover your hit, and are your premiums going to go up?

First of all, you’ll only be covered by deer hits if you have comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance is not going to cover coming up on a deer in the middle of the woods. Not everybody gets comprehensive, of course, but it’s worth looking into if you’ve got an area heavily populated by deer or other large animals, like moose. Even a used junker might be worth getting the insurance: depending on the value of your car, it might be worth it if it means your car will be totaled otherwise.

Secondly, whether or not your premiums go up really depend on your insurer and how much the repairs cost. Although deer collisions are decreasing, the cost of repairing the damage they cause are going up rapidly, to over $3000 per collision on average. It’s also going to depend on whether or not you took steps to prevent the collision, and whether or not it’s likely to happen again. If you live in the middle of the woods, it’s going to be a much different consideration than if you were lost and were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Odds are good you’ll see a modest rise in premiums.

But it’s better to avoid hitting deer altogether, probably for you and definitely for the deer. So, keep the following tips in mind:

– First and foremost, avoid driving through the woods as much as possible. Stay away from the deer and they’ll stay away from you, after all.

– Deer move in herds: if you see one, there’s probably a few more.

– Deer are most active at dawn and at dusk, so keep away from the woods then if possible.

– When driving through the woods, keep the speed lower than you normally would, especially during hunting and mating season. A good rule of thumb is to keep five to ten miles below the posted speed limit.

– Don’t waste your time honking your horn or turning off your lights: the deer will freeze in the middle of the road, paralyzed because it doesn’t know what to do. Hit the brakes as soon as you see the deer.

– If you do hit a deer, stay in your car. The deer may be confused and try to charge or otherwise attack you.

– Don’t bother with devices that are supposed to drive deer away, like deer whistles: they haven’t been tested and definitively shown to work.

In this particular case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Keep a sharp eye out, and you and the deer will both be a lot happier.

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