Will my car insurance go up if I hit a deer with my car?

What coverages can protect you if you hit a deer with your car, and how a deer claim can affect your insurance rates.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 26, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Depending on your situation, your car insurance rates could increase by $8 a month after a deer collision
  • You’ll need comprehensive coverage to cover any damages to your car caused by animals
  • Additional coverages like collision and personal injury protection could increase your safety net

No matter how safe a driver you are, a deer can hop onto the road without warning. Unfortunately, if you hit a deer with your car, there’s a chance your insurance rates could increase.

Luckily, your rates shouldn’t go up by much. Most insurers consider hitting a deer a random event, so your rates might not even increase at all. It all depends on your car insurance company and what types of coverage you have.

Here’s what you need to know about what types of car insurance cover a deer collision and what that might cost you.

Does hitting a deer with my car affect my insurance rates?

In most states, hitting a deer is a no-fault accident. This means it won’t go on your driving record and won’t increase your car insurance rates. However, if you swerve and damage another person or their property, that claim will go on your record, and your rates could increase.

Additionally, if you file multiple claims within a short period of time, your insurer could increase your rates. The average increase is about $8 per month.

If you live in an area with a large deer population, you might want to make sure you have sufficient coverage to handle any expenses related to hitting one of these animals.

What types of coverage can help me after a deer collision?

The average cost of a deer collision claim is $4,341. Hitting a deer could do anything from busting a headlight to totaling your car. If you have a vehicle that’s expensive to repair, consider insuring it properly.

Comprehensive car insurance is the only type of auto insurance that covers deer collision damages.

Although it’s optional, nearly all auto loan lenders require you to have comprehensive coverage when you finance a car. So if you’re still paying off an auto loan, chances are you’re already covered.

On average, comprehensive coverage costs about $13 per month, making it an affordable way to ensure you’re protected. Then, when you file a claim, all you’d have to pay is your deductible. 

Deductibles typically go as high as $1,000. Since that’s far less than the average claim, having comprehensive insurance can be well worth it. Keep in mind that increasing your deductible lowers your monthly payments.

Do I need anything besides comprehensive coverage?

The chances of you getting injured when you hit a deer are very low. However, when you swerve to avoid deer, you are more likely to drive into a tree, fence, or ditch, which can cause serious injury.

Unfortunately, there are over 150 driver fatalities and substantially more injuries each year due to drivers attempting to avoid deer. If you don’t have a robust health insurance plan, consider MedPay or personal injury protection insurance to help cover medical expenses. These coverages can cost anywhere between $8 and $33 per month on average.

Additionally, comprehensive coverage doesn’t cover damages to your car if you swerve and don’t actually hit the deer. You’ll need collision coverage for that.

How likely is it that I’ll hit a deer with my car?

Every year, about one out of 116 drivers across America file an animal collision claim.

Statistics show that the likelihood of a deer collision doubles during mating season, which is between October and December. The risk is highest during dusk and dawn because of low visibility.

It depends on your location, too. You’re most likely to experience a deer-vehicle collision in Montana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Deer populations are denser in rural areas, but due to deforestation, you’ll find deer in more populated areas, too.

What can I do to avoid hitting a deer with my car?

The best thing you can do is be aware. Use the following tips to keep yourself safe from deer collisions:

  • Note deer crossing signs. These signs warn drivers where there’s a high concentration of deer.
  • Watch for multiple deer. Deer usually travel in groups, so if you see one, there’s a chance there are others nearby.
  • Keep your high beams on. Deer collisions mostly happen between dusk and dawn, so keep your high beams on for maximum visibility.
  • Install a deer whistle. Humans can’t hear the high pitch of a deer whistle, but it can keep deer away from your car as you drive.
  • Brake instead of swerving. Swerving increases the likelihood of getting yourself injured, so break slowly and safely.
  • Take a defensive driving class. Taking classes can help you get into the habit of safely dealing with unexpected obstacles.

Being proactive about the possibilities can keep you safe and save money on car insurance.

What should I do after I hit a deer?

If you hit a deer, don’t panic. You can work through this situation easily.

First, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights to protect yourself from other traffic. Then, call the police, especially if the road or the animal is still posing a threat to other drivers. Plus, having a police report can speed up the insurance claims process.

While waiting for the cops, take photos of the damages just in case your insurer requests them. You can photograph the animal nearby but do not approach it. It’s difficult to anticipate a frightened animal’s movements.

Contact your insurer to report the claim as soon as you safely can. Insurers typically have a limit to how long you can wait to file a claim. Your insurance company might even conduct an investigation to make sure that your claim is valid, so you’ll need to provide all the proof you can.

Once the road is clear, check if your car is safe to drive. If not, you should have your car towed or contact roadside assistance if it’s included in your policy. Roadside assistance can save you money on emergency towing services, tire replacement, windshield repair, and more.

I Hit a Deer With My Car: The Final Word

Although it can be scary when you hit a deer with your car, don’t stress about insurance. As long as you have comprehensive coverage, you won’t see an increase in your rates.

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