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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Depending on where you live, hitting a deer may be a big concern to you, especially during certain times of the year.
Collisions with deer are far more numerous during mating season, which is typically between the months of October and December.
You may be covered by your auto insurance policy in the unfortunate event you have an accident involving a deer or any other wild animal, but it will depend on the type of coverage you purchased.
If you purchased a liability-only insurance policy, you’d be out of luck if you hit a deer with your car.
Collision or Comprehensive?
Your policy must contain comprehensive coverage, sometimes referred to as other-than-collision coverage (OTC), in order to have the damage to your vehicle repaired by your insurance company.
In other words, you must have purchased a full coverage insurance policy.
This may seem counter intuitive, as the event can be described as colliding with a deer. Many people mistakenly believe this type of accident would trigger a collision insurance claim, but this is not the case. Insurance companies do not include this type of accident in the definition of a collision.
In some states, you may be charged with a collision if you hit a slow moving animal standing in the road, as you are expected to avoid the accident.
Being charged with a collision claim will likely result in an increase in your insurance premium, whereas comprehensive claims are not traditionally counted against you with regard to car insurance rates.
Please note that we are only discussing accidents involving wild animals. If you were to collide with a farm animal or someone’s family pet, the damage to your vehicle may be covered by the animal owner’s liability policy if there is one in force (an example would be a homeowner’s insurance policy).
Of course, when dealing with an accident caused by a family pet, you would have to be able to determine who owns the animal. This may be difficult if there are no tags and the owner is not willing to take responsibility for the matter.
If you are unable to verify who owns the animal, you may be stuck filing a claim under the comprehensive coverage on your policy.
Keep in mind that different counties have different laws regarding liability in this event. Check with your state department of insurance for laws in your state.