Some days it can be a nice break from reality to take a long country drive down a dirt road or a highway surrounded by trees or a hidden street you’ve made into your own special thinking stretch of road. That is, until a deer jumps from your peripheral into your windshield. Now, you’re slammed back into reality with a maimed deer and at least a dent in your bumper.
So, what happens next? You might be wondering how to fix your car and if your Atlanta car insurance will help you do it. Luckily, we’re here to walk you through one of the most startling things that can happen to a driver.
What Do I Do If I Hit a Deer With My Car?
You’re probably a bit shaken and wondering what to do next. Take a deep breath, and follow these steps:
- Move your vehicle to the side of the road and turn on your hazards.
- Take pictures of the scene, the damage to your car, and any injuries to you and your passengers. These can be especially useful if the deer runs off after the crash.
- While it’s not required to call the police after an accident with a deer, a police report never hurts when filing a claim with your insurance company. Plus, they’ll know who to call to remove the deer from the road.
- DO NOT approach the deer, even if you think it’s dead. If it’s only injured, it’s probably also scared and may kick you or cause you further injury.
- You can also check to see if your car is safe to drive, but only if you feel comfortable driving. Don’t get back on the road if you see any tire damage, broken lights, leaking fluids, or loose parts.
An important side note: DO NOT try to swerve to save a deer! It may be cute and fuzzy, but ramming into a tree, a rail, or another car is usually more dangerous for you and results in more injuries than just hitting the deer.
Will My Insurance Cover Me If I Hit A Deer With My Car?
This all depends on what kind of coverage you have. Every state (including Georgia) has a minimum amount of liability coverage that they require from each of their drivers. A lot of people want to choose this option to insure their vehicle because it’s usually the option with the cheapest premium. However, this usually only covers expenses paid to the other driver if you’re found to be at fault for a car accident. It will cover things like the cost of their car repairs/replacement and their medical bills.
That’s it. That’s all she wrote (for this policy). Liability coverage for your car won’t cover damages to your car, your medical bills (should you have any), or if you hit something that just damages your car – like a deer.
So, what kind of insurance covers hitting a deer?
There are two basic types of car insurance policies that go beyond the state-mandated coverage: Collision coverage and Comprehensive coverage.
You want to make sure that you have comprehensive car insurance in the event that you hit a deer head on. Comprehensive coverage will also cover a number of other incidents as well, such as:
- Severe weather damage (like hail, hurricanes, or tornadoes)
- Glass damage (to your windows or windshield)
- Theft (Yep, you can be covered for that too.)
- Damage from falling objects (like trees or the odd meteorite)
And last, but not least,
- Damage sustained by hitting an animal
Even though you may be covered from some of these unforeseen accidents, having comprehensive insurance still doesn’t mean that you’ll have full coverage for your car. That’s why it’s important to talk to an insurance agent about the type of coverage you have or need.
Our insurance agents are experts in learning what type of car insurance fits your needs, driving style, and budget. So call 770.497.1200 or fill out our online form to get free quotes on Atlanta car insurance plans that can fully cover whatever you encounter on the road.
But wait! What If I Did Swerve to Miss a Deer and I Hit Something Else?
Congrats! You’ve saved a deer! But you’ve still made a mess of your car, and comprehensive insurance will not cover you if you hit something else to miss a deer, or any other animal for that matter.
This is where Collision Coverage comes into play. Remember when we said that liability coverage only covers the expenses of the other driver if you get into an accident? Collision coverage is the specific part of a policy that helps you cover your car repair/replacement and medical expenses when your car is damaged in a, well, collision. It can also help you cover costs if you flip or roll your car, or if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured.
So, if you want to be covered for both scenarios or just have full coverage, you’ll need both as a part of your car insurance policy.
Will My Rates Go Up If I Hit A Deer?
Again, it depends – on your policy, your carrier, your car, and your state. Hitting a deer isn’t something that you can control, so usually filing a comprehensive claim for hitting a deer won’t drive up your premium. However, if you have a habit of deer-pin bowling or if you’ve filed a number of claims related to either type of coverage, then your rates may go up simply because of the volume of claims filed in a short amount of time, not necessarily the fact that you hit a deer.
That being said, there are a few numbers in your policy that you need to be aware of after the accident:
Your coverage limit
Most insurance carriers have a limit on the amount of damage they cover if you get into an accident. Each of these will have a minimum and a maximum amount of coverage allotted for:
- Bodily injury per person
- Overall bodily injury, and
- Overall damage to the car
Before you let your insurance policy cover repairs, you should know what the deductible is on your comprehensive or collision coverage is. This will dictate how much of the repair costs will come out of your pocket and if there are any additional charges you’ll have to pay to the insurance company once the repairs are finished.
The length of your repair warranty
Ask whether your carrier uses a repair shop that has a warranty on the parts needed to repair your car and how long the warranty lasts.
In all honesty, the chance of hitting a deer with your car is about 1 in 162 nationwide, but that number can fluctuate anywhere from 1 in 40 to 1 in 1,175 depending on where you live. Even if it’s not likely that you would hit a deer, it’s still important to have more than the state-mandated amount of coverage for any number of other real-life scenarios.
Our experts can help you get the Atlanta car insurance you need, so give us a call at 770.497.1200 to get multiple quotes on the type of car insurance policy that will fit you best.