Don't Be Like A Deer Caught In Headlights: What Every Driver Needs To Know About Accidents With Deer

Posted on: 21 December 2015


In the state of West Virginia, 1 out of 44 drivers will collide with a deer within the next 12 months, which doesn't seem unusual since the state is known as the Mountain State. However, what may surprise you is that, according to research, 1 in 169 drivers in the United States will collide with a deer within the next year. Given the chances that you will hit a deer at some point in your lifetime, it's important to know how to handle the situation before it actually happens. That way, you can be prepared. Here's what you need to know.

Insurance Coverage You Will Need

Collisions with wildlife and domestic animals are covered under comprehensive insurance, not liability. If you live in a state where there is a high risk of collision with deer, it would be a good idea to get comprehensive insurance for your vehicles. Another type of coverage you should consider if you live in a high-risk area is car rentals, just in case you do hit a deer and your vehicle needs to be in an auto body repair shop for any length of time.

Also, you'll want to be sure the deductible is something that you can handle at a moment's notice. Sometimes, people try to save money on their insurance premiums by having a high deductible. However, if the deductible is too high to pay out of pocket, then your vehicle won't get the repairs it will need to get you back on the road again.

What to Do If You Hit a Deer

It's important to take a few precautions if you do hit a deer. First and foremost, you want to be sure you, your passengers, and other drivers on the roadway are safe. If your vehicle becomes inoperable due to a collision with a deer, try to move the vehicle off of the roadway.

However, be careful to avoid getting too close to the animal if it did not succumb to the injuries it got from the impact. The deer may suddenly kick at you, thrash around, or get up. It's important to be extremely careful if you hit a buck. The last thing you'll need is for the buck to attack you with his antlers. If you hit a doe, look around for fawns or other deer.

Each state has different laws regarding whether or not collisions with wildlife need to be called in to the authorities. Therefore, it's crucial to understand what the laws are in your state, especially if you live in one that has a high risk of collisions with deer. However, it's a good idea to call the police so you can show your insurance company proof of what happened.

Take Your Vehicle for Repairs

Sometimes, damages from collisions with deer may appear minor, which can lead you to wonder if it's worthwhile to contact the insurance company. However, even if a collision with a deer seems more like a fender bender in damages, it's important to still report it to your insurance company and get the vehicle checked over by an auto body repair shop. The reason for this is because there may be hidden mechanical damages that resulted from the impact, such as a crack in the radiator or a shift in part of the powertrain.

Also, sometimes this type of impact can cause the headlight alignment to be off-kilter, even though there doesn't appear to be any damages. Headlights out of alignment can make it difficult to drive at night and may cause you to fail your next vehicle inspection. To correctly align the headlights again, the panels in the body of the car may need to be properly realigned. These types of repairs would be covered by your insurance company if you have comprehensive collision and file a claim. You can find more info here on repairing damages that could be caused by a collision with a deer that may not be noticeable right away.