Tis the Season: Car Insurance and Deer

As the weather gets colder we see more run-ins with animals preparing for winter. Deer exist in the wooded areas surrounding your home all the time, but it seems like they become a little more active as the cool weather approaches. We’d venture to guess at least one person you know has had a run-in with a deer. So what if it were you? How would your auto insurance respond?

What Type of Coverage Do You Have?

The first question you need to ask yourself is what type of coverage you have. Do you have a basic liability policy? Liability coverage helps to pay for damage you may cause to another person or his property if you are at fault for an accident. This coverage doesn’t respond to repair your own vehicle.

Do you have comprehensive and collision coverage? If so, you’re in luck. A run-in with a deer is, believe it or not, considered part of your comprehensive coverage – not collision.

Traditionally, the collision portion of your policy covers just that – collisions with objects or other cars that results in damages to your car. Comprehensive coverage is for things like fire, theft, and vandalism. Even the insurance companies know that there isn’t much you can do to control the behavior of deer, though, and they specifically list collisions with deer as part of your comprehensive coverage instead of your collision coverage. This is good for you because it isn’t considered at-fault and won’t result in a penalty when it comes time to renew your policy.

Will I Have to Pay?

While a run-in with a deer is not considered at-fault, you will need to pay your deductible. The lower your deductible, the higher your premium. Common deductible options are $250, $500, and $1,000 or higher. You need to find balance between what you can afford to pay monthly in premium and what you can afford to pay out-of-pocket if there is an accident. Putting your deductible high so that you can pay less is no good if you don’t have $1,000 to pay for car repairs – and trust us, deer can do a ton of damage.

Do you live in an area where a run-in with a deer is a major concern? Talk to your Tom Needham Insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage based on your location, vehicle type, and needs. It never hurts to explore your options.